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Environmentalists groups require the suspension of farmed salmon import by firms killing seals. (Photo: Seal Protection Action Group/FIS)

Environmentalists push for boycott of Scottish salmon

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Friday, June 29, 2012, 23:20 (GMT + 9)

The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) has obtained data through a freedom of information (FOI) request revealing the extent of seal killing at salmon farming firms across Scotland. And the entity claims that according to the data supplied by Marine Scotland, more than 300 seals were killed during 2011 and in January-April 2012 as a result of the actions performed by certain companies such as Marine Harvest, Loch Duart, Scottish Seafarms (Leroy & Salmar), Meridian (Morpol), Hjaltland Seafarms (Grieg Seafood) and The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC).

GAAIA and Save Our Seals Fund (SOSF) are now asking the US Government to ban imports of farmed salmon and calling on retailers to boycott seafood from “seal-unfriendly” salmon farms in Scotland.
 
“Scotland’s seal killers should hang their heads in shame and hang up their guns,” stated Don Staniford of GAAIA. “Supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which condone the killing of seals by selling ‘seal-unfriendly’ farmed salmon have blood on the hands.”

John Robins, secretary of Save Our Seals Fund in Scotland, said the groups are urging the US Department of Commerce (DOC) to apply the existing legislation to ban the import of Scottish farmed salmon. 

“I hope the US Government can force Scottish salmon farmers to install seal exclusion nets, something the Scottish Government and the RSPCA [an entity that defends animals' rights in the UK] have disgracefully failed to do.  When you buy Scottish farmed salmon, even RSPCA endorsed Scottish farmed salmon, you pay for bullets to shoot seals," Robins said.

In 2011, a Scottish Government survey showed that 80 per cent of salmon farms in the country lack anti-predator nets, a measure which would preclude the need to kill seals by shooting or other means.

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), argued deterrence is hands down the most effective way to manage persistent predators that threaten fish farms.

“Fish farmers have to be able to protect their fish in the same way as a shepherd or chicken farmer would protect their livestock against foxes,” he said.

Marine Scotland has refused to disclose the particular fish farm sites where the seals were killed, and GAAIA has now appealed to the Scottish Information Commissioner, insisting that Marine Scotland is endangering the public. 

The government however, decided that identifying the particular sites of seal shooting would put fish farms and their workers in danger. Marine Scotland added that the disclosure could lead to criminal damage from activists or result in environmental pollution, Scotland Herald reports.

Environmentalist groups are asking consumers, chefs and retailers to boycott all products from companies that kill seals.

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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