Skip to main content

Landsburgh hits back at 'trite' calls for farm moves

SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh. Photo: SSPO
SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh. Photo: SSPO

Salmon industry spokesman Scott Landsburgh has responded to what he called "trite" calls by angling lobby group Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland for some fish farms to be moved.

Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme on Monday.

Presenter David Gregory-Kumar played a clip of S&TCS spokesman Guy Linley-Adams repeating claims from the angling lobby that salmon farms spread sea lice and disease. He told the programme that the future of salmon aquaculture in the medium and long-term was in closed containment.

Linley-Adams said some of the earliest salmon farms that had been sited at the mouths of rivers "that are so important for wild fish" should be closed down and relocated out to sea.

'Easy for them to say'

Landsburgh told Gregory-Kumar: "Obviously that's easy for them to say. There has been a lot of investment in these farms over the years and I think it is a bit trite just to expect us to suddenly get up and move fish farms like that.

"We do have an aspiration to grow as an industry, we will look at moving to more off-shore, higher tidal-exchange sites. That is part of the agenda, for sure, and Guy is well aware of that."

Referring to closed containment, Linley-Adams said: "If that can be done then an awful lot of the problems that we fear are damaging wild fish will simply go away. That does require investment, that does require research, but in Norway, in Canada, in Ireland they are doing that research. We need to see the same reproduced in Scotland."

Innovation work

Landsburgh said the SSPO was looking at closed containment in Scotland but added: "It's far from proven. It's a bit like talking about electric cars 15 years ago; they were something that could be the future. I think we are saying '15 years and it may become the future' but there is a lot of innovation work and research to be done before we get there."

During the programme Landsburgh also pointed that salmon farming had becaome a "strategic food industry" for Scotland, employing around 8,000 people and on track to export salmon worth £650 million to 64 countries this year.

Listen to the programme here. The salmon debate starts five minutes and 46 seconds.

Farming Today is focusing on salmon all week. The programme is broadcast at the milking parlour-friendly time of 5:45am but is also available on iPlayer.