Warning of serious consequences of huge increase in tonnage of farmed alien rainbow trout in Loch Etive

salmon parr in stomach of rainbow trout on gutting © Andrew Graham Stewart

The Salmon & Trout Association Scotland [S&TAS] has issued a warning that a proposed massive new rainbow trout farm on Loch Etive will pose an unacceptable additional threat to the integrity of Argyll’s premier wild salmon river.

Dawnfresh Farming Limited has reapplied for planning permission for a new rainbow trout farm in Loch Etive, a sea loch north-east of Oban.

The application is for ten 80 metre circumference fish cages just two miles from the mouth of the internationally renowned River Awe, which has an almost unparalleled reputation in Britain for leviathan salmon.

The 19th century’s most distinguished writer on salmon rivers, Augustus Grimble (1899), called the Awe the ‘premier and most renowned river in Scotland’. It has a legendary reputation for heavy salmon. With the exception of the River Tay (which has a catchment that is ten times bigger), the Awe has produced more angler-caught salmon over 50 lb (on fly) than any other British river.

This farm would massively increase the tonnage of rainbow trout, adding to the applicant’s five existing farms on Loch Etive.

While only slightly smaller than the original 14 cage application – withdrawn in July 2013 following substantial local protest – the new application retains most of the same features and S&TAS believes that it constitutes a significant and unacceptable escalation of fish-farming activity on Loch Etive.

Hughie Campbell Adamson, Chairman of S&TAS, says: ‘The rainbow trout farms in Loch Etive have a poor record for containing their stock. There have been numerous escapes in the past.

‘These large and voracious alien trout run up the River Awe where inevitably they eat the juvenile salmon, thus severely depleting the stocks of the native fish. [The copyrighted photograph above shows wild salmon parr (bottom) found in the stomach of an escaped rainbow trout (top) during the process of gutting the latter.]

‘There is a genuine risk that, should this predation not just continue but increase, we will see the further demise of one of Scotland’s great salmon rivers.

‘While we and others concentrate on protecting the environment for the benefit of our native fish, Dawnfresh seem to ignore the potential impact of their proposed expansion.

‘It may make economic sense to Dawnfresh to expand, but is the overall cost to the environment and to the area not considerably greater?’

Importantly, the Dawnfresh application runs contrary to the Loch Etive Coastal Zone Management Plan.

The S&TAS believes that the farm would threaten Loch Etive’s wildlife, wild fisheries, loch recreation, tourism and tourist businesses, all for the benefit of just one private company and at the expense of the local community.

By the applicant’s own admission, the new farm would create no new direct jobs.

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43 Responses to Warning of serious consequences of huge increase in tonnage of farmed alien rainbow trout in Loch Etive

  1. “The 19th century’s most distinguished writer on salmon rivers, Augustus Grimble (1899), called the Awe the ‘premier and most renowned river in Scotland’. It has a legendary reputation for heavy salmon. With the exception of the River Tay (which has a catchment that is ten times bigger), the Awe has produced more angler-caught salmon over 50 lb (on fly) than any other British river.”

    or a 21st century article states

    “Fish enter the River Awe as early as April with the peak of the runs in May to August. Although fish are not as large as those in the past, the river still produces the occasional 30lb specimen.”

    bit of a difference ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

        • Yes. Industrial offshore trawlers. Inshore netsmen. Acidification of rivers and spawning redds. Tweedies torturing, maiming and slaughtering maturing salmon as they return to spawn.

          Salmon numbers started to decline in the 1950s. Commercial aquaculture didn’t kick off until the 1980s. That’s why I didn’t add it to the list above.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

          • Thank you, I do agree with you that Salmon decline is linked with human exploitation, do not know if its true or not but I was told that at one point in time it was written in to an apprentice contract that there was a limit to how much salmon and venison could be given to them and an other tale when some people went to London they wrote back to their Clan Chief and said that they saved him money by only eating venison and salmon. Link this into Karl Hughes opinion about “charge a higher rate as middle and upper class demand grows” and develop it, Scotland has a “brand” of quality, should we let billionaires exploit this and sell counterfeit goods to fill their bank balance, quality not quantity gives higher margins and maybe sustainability, what ever that means.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. This development reminds me of the Trump golf course development on a SSSI, SEPA senior officials are ready to back this development,
    From the Chairman’s diary since the last Board meeting on 17 April 2012
    “Dawnfresh Seafoods trout farms, Loch Awe and Loch Etive
    Jim Frame, West Highlands & Argyll Operations unit manager, and I visited the Dawnfresh Seafoods trout farms at Loch Awe and Loch Etive on 2 May. Alastair Salvesen, chairman and major owner of the company, hosted this visit.
    I found this visit both interesting and useful as Jim Frame flagged these sites as being much improved and now demonstrating good practice in this sector. Alastair Salvesen explained the benefits of recent investments in production facilities and
    outlined his future vision. SEPA’ Lochgilphead team will continue to work with Dawnfresh Seafoods to support good environmental performance.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • This was posted on the Tripping up Trump FB page
      ” Ruth Macpherson Whatever background you come from, it is an inequitable system. And here, because you probably didn’t read this far, I quote from the article: “Last October, on a farm near Edinburgh, the body of Andrew Riddell, a tenant farmer, was discovered. He and his family had worked on the farm for more than 100 years and then, one day, he was given notice to quit by his landlord, Alastair Salvesen, billionaire and Scotland’s third-richest man. The notice followed a year-long legal case which finally found in favour of Salvesen. The judge ruled that the protections Riddell thought he had in the tenancy arrangement were trumped by the landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. He killed himself after collecting his final harvest.” And that’s not heresay.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • And how much of that 3 kg of ” other fish” derived feed ends up at the bottom of the loch as waste…
      Our Oceans, rivers and lochs/lakes globlaly are being slowly destroyed by our inability to maintain anysort of of sustainable interface with nature…capitalist based human greed is the root of this destruction…not global hunger. How many poor folk can aford top end farm grown fish products….
      We do not have to double production for China or anyother ” rich” country,,..you simply produce the same and charge a higher rate as middle and upper class demand grows

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

    • Incorrect. Farmed salmon convert around 1.2 kg of feed into 1kg of flesh.

      Modern salmon diets contain low levels of fish meal, now relying on vegetable proteins from sustainable sources.

      I think you will find that farmed salmon are net producers of fish protein nowadays.

      And interesting economic theory Karl Hughes. You should apply to be world president.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

      • A theory based on sustainability rather than financial return ? whatever next…flying Salmon maybe ? I think Mr Salmond is more likely to be world president don’t you ?
        The fact is over production of a food source such as Salmond does cause environmental damage…much the same as forced production of grasslands for beef adds to toxicity of our rivers and oceans….this production is not for hungry mouths in the 3 rd world, its for greedy mouths in developed nations…

        Wake up…smell the coffee

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Er…I think you’ll find that quite a lot of the world is full of obese people who are malnourished because they eat far too much and of the wrong things, but are far too greedy to allow others to share the goods. (Food, seeds etc.)

    Bhutan has food security.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    • Bhutan? The jury is undecided whether self sufficiency is a safe national policy anyway, and it’s not an option for the UK regardless.

      There is a growing number of obese people in the world I accept (no pun intended) but there is equally a growing number of malnourished people.

      I accept they may not eat UK farmed salmon and trout, but surely this displaces a cheaper source of protein elsewhere?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  4. Re: Mel Gibson’s comment “Incorrect. Farmed salmon convert around 1.2 kg of feed into 1kg of flesh”. Your comment is actually incorrect. 1.2 kg of dry weight of feed produces 1.0 kg of wet weight of fish. So the actual conversion is 3.0 kg wet fish (in terms of fishmeal and fish oil) or more to 1.0 kg wet fish production.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. I don’t believe that massive parr came out of the trout’s stomach undamaged like that. Pic looks a bit doctored to me!

    Was this photograph taken and the gut examination done by someone independent? Me thinks not by the stated copyright and why put a copyright on it unless you know it to be suspect and don’t want it going into the public domain?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • More likely the parr was used as bait me thinks…especially given the wee hole where the hook should be….quite a realistic spinner bait :)

      Fact is: the Rainbow trout is not an indigenous species and should not be farmed in waters where it does not naturally exist … QED.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • It’s a mystery how this derelict fish farming junk doesn’t get cleared up – the farms have to get official approval, and there’s SEPA, our old friends the Crown Estate, and maybe SNH, all surely capable of ensuring that provision for debris recovery is built into the licensing system, with the developers lodging a bond in the same way that (I imagine) wind farmers, offshore oil developers and (haha) open cast coal miners do.
      It’s time for the Crown Estate, self appointed ‘landlord’ of these shores, collector of dues and controller of development, to get its act together before it finds itself with the embarrassment of being ordered to by a higher authority.
      Anyone would think that the Crown Estate was little more than a protection racket, by another name.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • There are abandoned mussel floats the entire length of the loch and complete raft sections abandoned as far up as Bharrs on the West side and North of Inverkinglass on the East side. Surely SEPA can prosecute if the evidence is given to them?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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