Major development in sustainable future for European aquaculture

Finnish salmon farm - Plenz Creative Commons

There is a development which has the potential to deliver a more environmentally responsible and sustainable aquaculture industry in Europe – salmon farming is not the whole of it but is a reasonable everyday shorthand for the industry.

This is the setting up of a new European partnership between fish producers and researchers – and it is being led from Argyll – by the Scottish Association for Marine Science at Dunstaffnage, near Oban.

Aquaculture, which includes fish farming, faces increasing pressures as demand for seafood products grows while traditional wild fisheries are in decline.

This new European research project – inevitably afflicted with the EU’s penchant for silly acronyms – is called IDREEM (Increasing Industrial Resource Efficiency in European Mariculture).

It is being launched to protect the long-term sustainability of European aquaculture by developing and demonstrating a new innovative production technology, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture or IMTA – described below.

The €5.7 million project, set to start in October 2012, is coordinated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and delivered in collaboration with fourteen industrial and research partners from across Europe.

For the next four years, the IDREEM consortium will develop tools and methods to help the European aquaculture industry adopt more environmentally and economically efficient practices using IMTA on a commercial scale.

Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is the combined cultivation of multiple commercially farmed species that belong to different levels on the food chain.

In an IMTA system, fish are farmed together with other species including shellfish (such as mussels) and algae or seaweed, creating a more efficient, cleaner and less wasteful production system.  IMTA allows nutrients from fish farms that are otherwise lost to the environment to be turned into useful products as they are utilised by these additionally grown species.

IMTA addresses concerns about the future sustainability of aquaculture by increasing productivity and profitability while also reducing waste and over-reliance on raw materials from wild fish stocks.

The IDREEM project will demonstrate the benefits of IMTA through pilot commercial-scale testing, field research and modelling.  Interdisciplinary research within IDREEM will examine the obstacles and risks to the use of IMTA systems and develop tools to overcome these constraints, whether they are economic, environmental, technical, social or regulatory.

IDREEM pairs aquaculture businesses and research institutions in strategic partnerships to promote rapid implementation, allowing instant transfer between research findings and commercial applications.  The tools and methods developed within IDREEM will help aquaculture enterprises and policy makers gain a better understanding of the risks and benefits associated with IMTA.

The end result of the project will be the creation of a more efficient European aquaculture industry, based on the development of more economically and environmentally efficient technology.  IDREEM will deliver tools and evidence to support the adoption of IMTA across the aquaculture industry, helping create employment and widening a market niche for IMTA-grown seafood products.

This is the most hopeful development yet in the morass of need for food and marine environmental degradation  that has been large scale salmon farming. the one certain things is that  no respectable academic insititution – as, eminently,  is SAMS – is going to deliver anything other than environmental responsibility to its own doorstep.

We note that the highly endangered common seal is a part of the marine environmental cluster around salmon farming and hope that this research will include work on the universal deterrence of marine predators without the easy resort to the gun which Marine Scotland has, astonishingly, legalised and without protection for lactating seals.

Note: The photograph above is of a salmon farm in Finland and is by Plenz reproduced here under the Creative Commons licence.

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50 Responses to Major development in sustainable future for European aquaculture

    • The 2011 SCOS (Special Committee on Seals) report can be seen here:-

      on p23 is a summary of the authors’ views on common seal population changes. There have been declines in numbers in many parts of Scotland, dramatic in some places (e.g. Firth of Tay) but the west coast mainland populations have apparently been largely stable since the mid 1990s.

      The word ‘endangered’ does not appear anywhere in the 133 pages of the report.

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  1. Mel, we have asked the expert on common seals in Argyll waters on whose information we rely – Mark Carter of Marine Concern – to respond to you.

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  2. Thanks Newsroom for highlighting this.

    The Common Seal is not as suggested ‘highly endangered’; however the European Sub-species of Common Seal (Phoca vitulina vitilina) is facing severe problems many of them man-made. With around 20,000 Common Seals in Scottish waters, that’s approx. one seal in 23.5 square Kilometres, not exactly over-populated! OR equivalent to the human population of one small town! In addition to this the UK now holds a vital component part of the European Sub-species and Strathclyde is the new ‘hot-spot’ for Common Seals in the UK.

    In recent years they have been subjected to numerous pathogens the most widely publicised Phocine Distemper Virus or PDV. The devastating mortalities have been well documented. Furthermore it appears that the Common Seals in UK waters have not recovered at the same rate as those on the Continent. PDV however may not be the seal’s worst problem.

    This government appears to be obsessed with Orca predation and out competition by the Grey Seals for their demise, and in some locations this may play a part. BUT in areas where a proliferation in the increased bio-mass and new salmon farming sites, in fact ‘super-sites’ for example along the inshore coastline of Argyll and Lochaber this is not the case. What is known is that currently and historically salmon farming and seals do not get on, usually on false accusations and anecdotal evidence from fish farm employees for the damage seals may or may not do, usually to the detriment of the seals in the form of a bullet or two!

    What is particularly worrying is the government’s apparent ‘blinkered’ approach towards salmon farming, without proper consideration to their environmental effects. Licenses are issued to shoot seals even in areas which are covered by a Seal Conservation Order, no checks are made and few enforcements in the legislation are carried out, it is all down to the salmon farms themselves to report on the numbers of seals that they have shot. The vast majority of these salmon farms do not even have anti-predator nets fitted.

    There can be room for both finfish aquaculture and the industries potential predators, if only the industry puts the environmental issues before profit and the government alters its apparent salmon at all costs strategy. In this particular area tourism is the foremost industry and killing seals may well be detrimental to its future, especially for Scotland’s wildlife and growing marine wildlife watching industries.

    For salmon farming to become truly ‘sustainable’ it must address the huge amounts of wild fish caught many from fisheries that are already outside safe biological limits which goes into salmon feed; it must address the problem of poisons which the industry calls ‘medicines’ routinely put into local waters; it must address the problem of escapes which have the potential to damage the gene pool of wild Scottish salmon; it must address the problems of acoustic pollution which can adversely effect cetaceans; it must address the problem of pollution via sloppy feeding and excreta; it must address the problem of dealing with potential predators in a non-lethal fashion, then and only then can it be seen to be sustainable.

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    • Closed containment is the only appropriate way of farming fish sustainably; every other industry is fined if they dump waste in an uncontrolled manner and damage the environment, why does aquaculture deserve special consideration?

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  3. I responded to the above at the request of the Newsroom, late at night, just before going to bed and off the cuff as it were. Lying in bed for a few hours has given me the chance to reflect on my thoughts. While up to date, good science is vital in these matters, it is not always a luxury shown by those in the various industries or dare I say even some politicians (personal opinion).

    Looking at the facts, seals have been the scapegoats for many problems in more than one industry. Seals are routinely shot by the finfish aquaculture industry, the fishing industry, the salmon netsmen and the salmon anglers. Bullets every which way they turn, and they were here long before us, living in harmony with salmon long before we even thought of fishing!

    So what has changed to reduce the seal population to such a devastatingly low level? I would suggest that a combination of the effects from pollution, bio-accumulation to bio-magnification potentially rendering seals prone to diseases, illnesses and conditions which have an adverse effect on their health and reproduction. Over fishing is an obvious problem; sand eels are high on the menu for many seals and while we allow the industrial scale ‘hoovering’ of these mainstay food-web fish the potential is for large parts of the ecosystem to collapse, as has been seen with the effects on various sea birds over recent years. We don’t even know the true numbers of seals before they were hunted commercially, almost to extinction for the Grey Seals in the early 1900′s, so what is the ‘control’ or base line population figure?

    Industrial scale manipulation of the native seabed and marine habitats from dredging for minerals to scallops, from bottom trawling to even wiping out shell fish beds, all have long term implications for the whole dynamic ecosystem. From below the seals (along with other species) are facing a tough time, from above they are also facing increasing pressures from various commercial industries.

    So from a ‘layman’s’ perspective, the combination of effects mentioned above, and I’ve not even covered the effects of climate change, seals are facing a difficult time, one that may well see local extinctions in our lifetime. So from the lawman’s test i.e. what the average man on the Clapham omnibus thinks; yes Common Seals could be considered ‘highly endangered’, and as ‘db’ has said, closed containment albeit on land or in the sea might just be the way forward?

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    • I agree with many of your points Mark, although Clapham is a long way from Scotland and not necessarily the best location from which to dictate how we live in Scotland (the man from Clapham usually chairs the community councils, tends to object to most planning applications, power generation projects, and any other economic development benefiting the locals, whilst occupying his loch view luxury dwelling).

      Statistics are useful tools to defend any argument, and your ‘one seal per 23.5 km3′ really is beneath your level of erudition.
      Your definition of highly endangered could be applied to every species on the planet, so really doesn’t apply to common seals. I really like seals and certainly would never condone shooting one, but can’t find any reference to them being endangered.
      I would caution on one matter though- the call for closed containment is fine, provided you accept the industrial scale construction sites around the coastline that would be required to produce the volume of farmed salmon. I can’t do the sums readily, but I suspect that would have a greater visual and environmental impact (ref Tayinloan proposals).
      In the first instance, plain ‘containment’ would be a good start, especially if combined with non lethal predator deterrents. Good fences make good neighbours!

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      • In response to Mel,
        I wasn’t going to reply to your posting, but did click the like box. Then thought that it might be useful to elaborate on a few points raised.

        I can’t be held responsible for the analogy used in law circles, if it helps please replace Clapham with Alexandria or Greenock, but I have taken that as a ‘lol’ moment. But your following paragraph about statistics is interesting, the reference was used simply to indicate that we have a massive sea area and not many seals, there are too many component parts to argue the case here but it does give an illustration of the situation.

        Various industries and some politicians could use the analogies and no one would bat an eye, yet when one tries to stand up for environmental issues the magnifying glass comes out and close scrutiny follows. Which is why I stand by what I have said in the context given. I work on the basis that if I’m wrong I can reference the source.

        I disagree however with your reference to the layman’s interpretation of highly endangered; I make reference to the European sub species only and not the remaining four sub species of common seals around the Northern hemisphere. There remains uncertainty with the population trends of the European sub species, especially in Scotland. Lismore, the Lynn of Lorn and the Firth of Lorn area is home to discrete population(s) that potentially could be important to the future survival of the sub species. Or perhaps we should allow the status quo to carry on until we meet the UN definitions of ‘endangered’ or even on the ‘Red List’ before acting. Then we could throw huge amounts of money at the problem even if the survivors are outside the minimum population required for recovery, just look at the situation in the Med. with the Monk Seal.

        I fully concur with your last two points; closed containment afloat is the best way forward for many reasons and if I may can I use your comment, ‘Good fences make good neighbours’ in future dialogue, ending in a lighter comment; not if they are leyandii.

        PS To answer a point raised by Tim; “but the west coast mainland populations have apparently been largely stable since the mid 1990s”, The data obtained by the Sea Mammal Research Unit for the Special Committee on Seals is the gold standard and the most definitive data available. However, look closely at the figures for the inner western coast, remove those of the Clyde and west of Mull, I think that you will find a very different picture. This leads to the question, “Why are the government so reluctant to separate these figures”? Especially given that this is the area of prolific salmon farming growth.

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      • The visual intrusion is a necessary evil, MAMBA does not put money in the bank. I don’t see how a floating closed containment will be much more visually intrusive than the existing behemoths clad in mesh, bejeweled with lights, buoys and wires and attended by parasitic barges.

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  4. To Newsroom: Quoting from your article, “Aquaculture, which includes fish farming, faces increasing pressures as demand for seafood products grows while traditional wild fisheries are in decline”.
    What a load of utter rubbish. Here is one of the greatest lies being sold to the public these days. That wild fish are on such a decline and we need aquaculture like salmon farming to save the world?! It takes 3-5 kg of wild fish to create 1 kg of salmon via pellets from fish meal. So what’s going on really???

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  5. To partially answer Roddy,

    The concept of expanding an industry that exploits and relies an already dwindling resource is flawed from the start, especially one that historically runs with poor ‘green’ credentials.

    Fishing has its foundations with hunter/gatherers, farming carnivorous fish such as salmon aquaculture is a farming method that currently requires fishing for its food source. Many global fisheries are in trouble and we still continue to fish down the food chain in order to compensate.

    Farming carnivorous fish under current conditions can never be totally efficient in terms of protein production, and with the World population growing as it is ‘protein’ is the all important commodity. It is not naturally possible to obtain a system that is 100% efficient; engines have friction and wear out, animals respire and reproduce, both take additional energy out of the system. Under the same argument plants transpire and propagate, but the big difference is that under current conditions it can be argued that they are the most beneficial to their environment, and produce the required protein. Perhaps we should be importing Chinese concepts not exporting Norwegian’s.

    In an attempt to keep this short enough for a webpage; to succeed under current criteria in a marine environment is to reduce the wild fish input in to fish food, farm herbivores and increase poly-culture. Poly-culture has many increased benefits, such as absorbing unwanted by-products from feeding contained fish. All done in floating closed containment conditions.

    …the alternative method would be to reduce the global population, and the methods that we use to sustain the high standard of living in the modern World.

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  6. Roddy Campbell- stop wheeling out old facts. If you, as I have done, check with fish feed companies you will discover that the level of vegetable protein inclusion in diets for farmed fish is such that salmon are getting close to being a net producer of fish protein.

    Mark Carter- a very twee, hand knitted solution but impractical in the real world.
    The world population is increasing dramatically, and unless we allow natural control of population numbers (or, as it appears at the end of your post, you are advocating some kind of ‘final solution’ for some poor blighters), could reach 9 billion people within the next 30-40 years. At the same time, the countries where the population will rise the highest (Africa and Asia)are also enjoying a massive increase in the middle classes, with an increasing desire for quality protein which means fish, white and red meats. The Chinese solution that you call for isn’t rice these days, it’s fish.

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    • Is the solution to optimise the environment as that is a fixed amount and work from there. The way I see it, is every thing is linked and I watched an amazing documentary about Shark Fin soup.
      1. More money can be made dealing in shark fins than drugs
      2. The money wealth being generated in China has created this demand.
      3. The shark population is declining to a unsustainable level.
      4. The message in the documentary was the whole eco system in all the oceans will change because of this single practice.
      So what I am saying, to conserve, look after, protect our/your environment the way forward is to work together. When I say work together, I am meaning people not organisations. How do we do this, I have no idea. What I do know from the Shark Fin soup model, if the people who bought the product were made aware of their actions then they could manage the outcome.

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      • Spot on John. Just think how UK fishermen went plundering ahead to catch herring full of roe (eggs) just because there was a demand for it, higher price that is. And there we are, if China, Russia etc etc get hands on some dosh we drool after their “spiritual requirements”. Just how could we be so stupid as to fish herring at the time when they are full of eggs. Why don’t we export our children to them for the factories as well and be done with life and all???

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    • Mel, as you agree that I’ve merely broadcasted a fact, old or new why on earth would I stop writing facts? Do you not like facts Mel and what about readers who did not previously know this “old” fact? On the other hand, your new “facts” regarding “vegetarian” farmed salmon simply indicate that you will believe anything the salmon farming industry print, that includes their pellet boys.
      Another interesting idea from you is this one, quote ” … and unless we allow natural control of population numbers ….”
      Can you explain this concept and at the same time show us where to get the info on these “veggy” pellets. Thanks in advance :)

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  7. The People’s Republic of China, accounts two-thirds of the worlds reported aquaculture production.

    Aquaculture, the farming of fish in ponds, lakes and tanks, accounts for two-thirds of China’s reported output. China’s 2005 reported harvest was 32.4 million tonnes, more than 10 times that of the second-ranked nation, India, which reported 2.8 million tonnes.

    Since 2002, China has been the world largest exporter of fish and fish products. In 2005, exports, including aquatic plants, were valued at US$7.7 billion

    Aquaculture has been used in China since circa 3500 BC. When the waters lowered after river floods, some fishes, mainly carp, were held in artificial ponds. The fish themselves were eaten as a source of protein.

    Cyprinus carpio is the number one fish of aquaculture. The annual tonnage of common carp, not to mention the other cyprinids, produced in China exceeds the weight of all other fish, such as trout and salmon, produced by aquaculture world wide.

    Since the 1970s, the reform policies have resulted in the rapid development of China’s aquaculture, both in fresh and in sea waters. Total aquaculture areas rose from 2.86 million hectors in 1979 to 5.68 million hectors in 1996, and the production rose from 1.23 million tonnes to 15.31 million tonnes.

    In 2005, worldwide aquaculture production including aquatic plants was worth US$78.4 billion. Of this, the Chinese production was worth US$ 39.8 billion. In the same year there were about 12 million fish farmers worldwide. Of these, China reported 4.5 million employed full time in aquaculture.

    Source: (25-09-2012)

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  8. Good cut’n'pasting Mark, and exactly my point- China already sees aquaculture as their protein source, where else will they feed there future population?

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    • Interesting clip John, and I think most people would agree with you, the environment has to be maintained. However, given other demands (eg food requirements), this maintenance can only come about through management rather than simply leaving the environment alone and untouched (which is impossible because everything we do has an impact on the environment).

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    • Spot on John and right up our street at the moment. We are having tanker loads of hydrogen peroxide arriving on the islands here to treat the huge outbreak of gill disease. We had a very nice letter from MH telling us that H2O2 is absolutely harmless and breaks down in water. But we are asking them to confirm what effect it has on plankton UNTIL such time as it breaks down and how long it takes to break down.. No answer forthcoming, looks like we have committed the abominable sin again by asking salmon farmers some simple questions. If we believe everything they write and don’t question their science, then they are our best friends.

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      • I use peroxide for the highlights in my hair, but wasn’t aware of the industrial usage in the sea that you describe. I don’t believe that’s a solution to fish farming problems, and I intend to make some enquiries myself on this.

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        • Yes, you can bleach any of your hairs with a 3% solution max. But try 50% tonight and ask a friend to post us tomorrow morning on how your head looks. That’s the solution % getting poured into the sea by the tanker load out here at the minute. Pity we can’t post photos on these forums.

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  9. Thank you to John for bringing this important issue back on thread:

    Cutting and pasting a little more might just be an eye-opener;
    We don’t need to ‘protect everything’, just some important areas (30%), this in turn could re-populate exhausted and damaged areas and give them a chance to recover, this includes vital fish nursery grounds.

    The bottom line here is that we simply don’t know all of the very important interactions within our marine ecosystems, and we play with them at our own peril. An extract from the article listed by John; “90% of the species they detected were previously unknown”, in 2012 with all of our technology; unknown!

    Following the Olympics it was said that sport should be apolitical, taken outside the political wrangling; with the scant regard the majority of politicians and parties give to the marine environment the real and actual protection of our seas should be the same.

    The following has been cut from

    After conducting a massive review of the evidence, in 2004 the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution proposed that 30% of the United Kingdom’s waters should be designated no-take zones. In 2009 a coalition of environmental groups launched a petition with the same aim: it gathered 500,000 signatures. But this didn’t make a damn bit of difference to either the Labour or the coalition government.
    The data is easily sufficient “to design comprehensive, representative and adequate networks of marine protected areas for UK waters.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the commission, which often voiced inconvenient truths, was shut down by David Cameron’s government soon after it took office.

    The exceptions are the pockets of sea around Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, Lamlash Bay on the Isle of Arran and Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. Together they occupy a grand total of 0.01% of British waters. These are the country’s only “no take zones”: places in which fishing and other extractive activities are banned.
    But even if all 127 proposed marine conservation zones were to be designated, and even if the entire area of these zones were to be protected, that would account for a total of 0.5% of our seas: one sixtieth of the area recommended by the Royal Commission. In Wales the situation is even worse. The government there says it will consider “no more than three to four sites” , covering 0.15% of its seas.
    So what about all those other marine reserves, such as our special areas of conservation? These are supposed to offer the highest level of protection available under European law, and are officially described as “strictly protected sites”. Surely they offer our wildlife some protection? Wrong again.
    The idea of actually protecting special areas of conservation, in their totality, in advance and by law, seems to be unthinkable to our governments. As Client Earth and the Marine Conservation Society point out, this puts the UK in breach of the European habitats directive.
    The government is now in breach of its promise to designate an “ecologically coherent” network of marine conservation zones by 2012.

    The UK has a fleet of nomadic scallop dredgers, mostly based in Scotland and the Isle of Man, which travel from one conservation area to another, ripping them to shreds, aware that our governments will do nothing to stop them. It is hard to think of a more effective method of destroying marine life, yet it is permitted in most of our special areas of conservation and other marine reserves.
    The Marine Management Organisation, which is supposed to protect these places, merely wrings its hands. It knows it must apply the government’s universal policy: that nothing should interfere with business, however damaging it is, however much it might harm the natural environment and even other businesses.
    It’s intensely frustrating for anyone who loves the marine environment, and it’s another powerful indication that “the greenest government ever” is even more destructive than its predecessors.

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    • Out of interest, where does your figure of 30% protected areas come from Mark?
      Is that realistic (I am as guilty as anyone in being sceptical of a theory if it’s backed by outlandish figures) or is there an evidence based calculation of the minimum area required to afford the regeneration required? Clearly 0.15% seems ridiculously low, and 0.01% shockingly irrelevant.

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      • ‘Turning the Tide’, the Commission’s 25th Report looked at many percentages, both higher and lower, it’s an old report now and covered a huge amount of information and recommendations, very little of which was taken onboard, probably due to the massive influence that the commercial industries have on government and politicians.

        Its a big document but from what I remember; they suggest that 10% could potentially halt the current decline in fisheries depletion, 20% could maintain the status quo and 30% could practically replenish dwindling fish stocks without adversely effecting the current industries ability to survive. (I’m more than happy to be corrected over the exact wording and even meaning)

        The bottom line we NEED 30% ‘NO-TAKE-ZONES’. Yes, they can work, we have a massive sea area, especially in Scotland, these ‘no-take-zones’ have a proven track record even in temperate climates. Fishermen elsewhere around the world target the fringes of known no-take-zones, where they get greater catches, for less fishing effort (time fishing), ‘No-Take-Zones’ are potentially a ‘win-win’ situation! Leaving some areas for nature to do what nature does best, without industrial scale commercial human interaction.

        The full report can be accessed at:

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    • The problem with the MTZ scheme was(is?) that it was looking like a blanket ban on doing anything in the coastal/littoral zone, as well as putting inshore fishermen on the dole it was potentially even outlawing leisure boating; the consultation process was hijacked by extreme conservationist groups. The actions of a few irrational individuals during the consultation about Studland bay turned the procedure into a farce of mudslinging and name calling.

      I agree that the basic idea of no-catch zones is a good one and it should not be chucked out with the bathwater. I also share your distaste for dredging; a more scorched earth fishing technique is difficult to imagine.

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      • Protected areas currently offer very little ‘protection’ and even less have ‘enforced protection’, so you could argue why have any under the current regime?

        Current protected areas are not and nowhere close to a blanket ban, this is something that some fishing associations like to band about to scare its own members and the public. During the Marine Park debate one association likened it to a ‘Theme Park’, what utter rubbish but the idea was jumped upon and along with other propaganda at the time, even some bullying of locals took place it died a death.

        Some areas are/can be closed to different types of activity, e.g. mobile v’s static and so on. Good zoning has the potential to ease many problems. These protected areas are not to be confused with those issued under ‘Health and Safety’ grounds/Fishery Protection i.e. shellfish and related issues.

        Like it or not, no fish means no fishing! One recent cartoon depicted a man showing his son a picture of a fish, son he said, “This is a fish, it was something that used to swim in the sea”. Mock the sentiment at our peril.

        So giviing my own personal opinion; if government and politicians could grow some proverbial ‘balls’, and the fishing industry loose its testosterone, along with the aquaculture industry being as secretive as a paedophile we might just make some progress…will it be in my lifetime, somehow I doubt it.

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        • Outrageous comment on the aquaculture industry. It didn’t take long in this thread for you to show your true colours Mark Carter and come up with such a puerile insult. Previous experience has shown you are credible and plausible, up to a point, when your rabid fanaticism for your Marine theme parks for the elite rich only where locals or the common man is denied access comes out.
          Silly me for thinking there was a rational debate to be had. Ciao.

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          • As I said earlier, when wrong I can reference the source of information and the same applies here, there are plenty of examples of those in power doing very little in order to protect the marine environment from damaging commercial industries, even in protected areas.

            Why is there only one small marine area of no-take in Scotland? Why is less than one percent of Scottish waters given ‘real’ marine protection? The new Marine Act provides for Marine Protected Areas why have none been established two and a half years later? Why have so many official marine environmental meetings been biased in favour of the commercial sectors? Why does the Scottish Government license the shooting of seals in areas that have a designated Seal Conservation Order in place?

            Numerous responses from some of the fishing associations representatives in marine related meetings which have been minuted give a clear indication that some have no real wish to concede any fishing grounds, one case during a meeting with reference to a Special Area of Conservation one representative said, “We (fishermen) will not give one square inch to your kind” (pointing to an individual interested in the environment).

            Ask any marine based finfish company for information as to which of their farms have shot seals and how many? Ask any finfish farm company, exactly what poisons, what concentrations and when are they pouring them into the sea at any one time? Ask any fin fish farm when are they next going to shoot seals and where?

            Those are just a few of the points covered by my previous comments, there are many more examples; the ‘playing field’ is far from level, other commercial industries are often overlooked in favour of fishing and finfish aquaculture.

            So when we have official marine environmental meetings equally balanced, when the fishing associations curtail their members black- catch (illegal catch) and enter into real productive dialogue on closed areas, when the finfish aquaculture industry can be open and transparent, then I will retract my personal comments.

            It is easy to sling mud or worse when the finger gets pointed, and thereby avoid the issues but if you can prove me wrong I will apoligise and retract my comments; but not until. I don’t have any colours here nor regrets, I strongly believe that aquaculture is the only way forward with a growing population but not under the present unsustainable methods and secrecy; even the Scottish Government has recently refused to give information on shooting seals to an NGO; if it is legal and morally right why hide?

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