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Farmed sea trout. (Photo Credit: Terje Engoe/Copyright: FIS)

Controversial trout farm plans quit

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 11/27/2014)

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has confirmed the pilot scheme designed to create trout farms off the Cornish coast has come to a halt, which was welcomed by angling and fisheries organizations opposing such a plan.

CEFAS explained this decision was taken after failing to find a suitable partner for this project, which was pursued by the centre together with the British Trout Association and The Crown Estate, Western Morning News reported.

The associations opposing the project – including South West Rivers Association (SWRA), the Cornish Federation of Sea Anglers, the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA), the Angling Trust (AT), the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST), Wild Trout Trust (WTT), Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) and the Rivers Trust – are convinced such farms increase parasite infestation on wild fish, pollute the sea bed and surrounding waters, and risk escapes of farmed fish which compete with wild fish.

SWRA Secretary Roger Furniss pointed out: “Our salmon and sea trout stocks already face too many threats from pollution, abstraction and low marine survival rates.”

Besides, S&TA chief executive Paul Knight remarked: “English and Welsh salmon and sea trout have many man-made dangers to face, but thankfully not open net marine fish farming at the moment.”

“Our experience in Scotland has shown that a farm off the Cornish coast could have killed wild salmon and sea trout by transferring disease and parasites from farm to the natural environment, and escapee rainbow trout would have run up Cornish and Devonian rivers, predating native species and competing with them for scant freshwater resources,” Knight added.

On the other hand, CEFAS explained in its website that there were several expressions of interest in taking forward this work but “they did not meet the project’s terms of reference in the given timescale to deliver a project of the highest standard.”

The government agency also pointed out that they remain supportive of the sustainable development of aquaculture across England and Wales, and insisted that “projects based on sound science, stakeholder engagement and the sharing of information such as this can make a valuable contribution to future growth.”

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