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Aquaculture information pack

In this document

The Sustainable Inshore
SIFT is a Scottish charity (Registered Scottish Charity Number SC042334)
founded in 2011 with the aim of achieving the sustainable management
of Scotland's inshore waters so that they provide the maximum long term
benefits to all coastal communities.

At SIFT's core is a coalition of community and maritime interest groups which object to their local inshore waters being damaged by unfair, short-termist fisheries.
SIFT's specific objectives are to:
• promote the sustainable development of Scotland's inshore marine resources, where sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; • promote the conservation and restoration of the natural ecosystems of Scotland's inshore • educate the public in Scotland's inshore marine aquatic ecosystems, including their fauna, flora, habitat and morphology and their relationship with economic and social activities including inshore fisheries management; and • promote thinking and practice of sustainable management of inshore waters.
SIFT would like to thank Fish Legal (and the Salmon & Trout
Association Scotland
(Registered Scottish Charity Number SC041584) () for their assistance in drafting this information pack.
This Aquaculture Information Pack aims to educate the public about the
processes involved in developing and managing aquaculture sites. The Pack
is focussed on coastal salmon farms, the dominant type of aquaculture
site in Scotland.

Developing a salmon farm involves interactions with numerous public bodies and the submis-sion of considerable amounts of information in support of planning applications. Whilst these procedures are often straightforward for salmon farm developers, they can be incomprehensible to members of the public who wish to engage in the planning process. Similarly the monitoring and regulation of operational salmon farms involves the collection and analysis of substantial amounts of data by a variety of agencies. Obtaining and analysing this information can also be challenging for the general public.
SIFT hopes this Pack will help to educate communities about which organisations do what tasks, where information can be found and what that data means. In so doing the Pack will help communities have their voices taken into account in the aquaculture planning and management processes and will enable them to play a bigger part in the sustainable management of their local coastal waters.
Background and rationale
Salmon farming is important to Scotland's coastal economy; it provides
infrastructure such as slipways that can be used by other local businesses,
rental income from leases of land for access to sites, and employment.

However other commercial activities contribute even more to Scotland's coastal economy through a diverse range of sustainable businesses such as creeling, shellfish farming and diving, tourism and angling. It is becoming increasingly clear, as the Scottish salmon farming business expands, that conflicts can arise between salmon farming and these other activities. In particular through the spatial restrictions farms place upon commercial and recreational fishing interests, and the negative visual impacts that floating cages and concrete feeding towers and the culling of marine mammals have upon the tourism industry. In particular wild salmonid fishing interests have had very particular concerns that the expansion of aquaculture on the west coast of Scotland has been a significant contributory factor in the decline of many local wild salmon and sea trout populations.
There is also evidence that some of the chemicals that salmon farms use to treat sea lice infesta-tions are being found in sediment surrounding the farms at levels exceeding those that have been set by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and that these chemicals may be damaging non target crustaceans such as prawns, lobsters and brown crab - the mainstays for the majority of inshore commercial fishermen.
SIFT believes that Scotland's coastal communities would benefit if there were greater public scrutiny of the salmon farming industry. As salmon farms increase in size and number their regulation should increase to match their growing environmental and economic impacts. Unfortunately, the monitoring regime has not kept pace with the expansion of the industry. For example, the number of sediment surveys carried out by SEPA to monitor the benthic (sea bed) impact of salmon farms has reduced significantly in recent years despite an increase in the amount of sea lice treatments being used. This Pack aims to help the public articulate their opinions about salmon farming, and in so doing should help the industry successfully co-exist with its coastal neighbours.

What is aquaculture?
Aquaculture refers to the raising of aquatic organisms such as fish, molluscs,
crustaceans, and aquatic plants in environments modified to produce
enhanced harvest rates, and includes fish farms and hatcheries.

There is evidence that aquaculture has been practiced the world over for thousands of years, starting over four thousand years ago in China. The Roman Empire developed aquacultural practices that were later adopted by Christian monasteries throughout central Europe.
The rise of aquaculture is related to declines in traditional fisheries with some even believing that it is preferable to harvesting wild fish because farmers have control over the environment in which their fish grow. Areas that are attractive to fish farm developers often overlap with those that provide a living to rural coastal communities, especially the inshore commercial fishing sector, shell fish farmers, recreational sea anglers, wild salmon and sea trout interests, and wildlife tourism.
What is a salmon farm?
Farmed fish are general y raised in open net cages or mesh nets placed
in sheltered bays and fjords along a coast. Individual net pens are usually
square or circular and have surface areas ranging from 150m2 to 1000m2
and can be up to 15m deep.

Hatcheries and stock
Scotland's farmed salmon are hatched in privately owned land-based hatcheries. ‘Brood Stock'
eggs and milt (of Norwegian origin) are selected to produce fast-growing, large fish that mature
quickly and can tolerate crowding. Normally eggs and milt are stripped from adult salmon in
the autumn, the subsequently fertilized eggs are incubated for around 9 weeks (dependant on
temperature), then grown on through the various life stages in tanks based on land or small
cages in fresh water lochs, until they are ready to go to sea as smolts the following autumn.
The timing of the smoltification process is dictated by day length. In a farm situation this is
normally controlled by the fish farmers using photoperiod manipulation, this is where the
amount of light that the fish are exposed to is shortened or lengthened to make the fish ‘believe'
that they are passing through the seasons, and so stimulates the physiological changes that
result in smoltification.
Maturing and harvesting
The salmon continue to live in saltwater pens until they are harvested. This is normally on a
two year cycle.
Treatment regimes
Like any intensively farmed animals, farmed salmon must be treated to minimise the spread
of disease in general and the spread of sea lice in particular. Sea lice treatments work in
various ways using differing active ingredients and so have different effects on non-target
organisms. Farmers administer these chemicals either in feed treatments where the medicine
is milled into the fish food, or as a bath treatment which can be carried out in a wellboat, or by
tarpaulins being hauled around the cages to create a ‘known' volume of water, the chemical is
then added. When the correct amount of time has passed the tarpaulins are removed releasing the chemical into the environment.
Salmon farming in Scotland
Commercial salmon farming started in Scotland in the late 1960s and has grown and changed rapidly from what were originally small farms owned by local based individuals, to the vast industry of today. For an up to date map of Scottish fish farms please Fish farms situated around the islands and west coast of Scotland produced around 154164 tonnes of fish in 2010 from up to 450 farms. The industry aims to increase its production by 3-5% per annum. Please find more information on the following link The industry is dominated by four multinational companies, turning over £539.6 million in 2010. Please find more information on the following link For an up to date Register of all Scottish fish farm business, please click on the following The aquaculture industry in Scotland is represented by the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation or SSPO. SSPO describes itself as: "at the centre of salmon-farming's industry-wide initiatives and pubic communica- tion, acting as a trusted source of information, a strong industry voice and a focus through which industry leadership and objectives can be channelled." To find out more about the SSPO and the industry in general follow the following Aquaculture in the Shetland Islands is represented through Shetland Aquaculture. You can visit their website here

Image: Wild sea trout infested with sea lice. Credit: Wester Ross Fisheries Trust.
This section of the Pack summarises the impacts that salmon farms can
have on the coastal ecosystem and economy. The section is intended only
as an overview, as much of the information is readily available elsewhere.
Links are provided to more detailed information sources.

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that salmon farms pose a threat to wild salmonids,
including Atlantic salmon and sea trout, both of which have declined markedly since the 1970s,
this despite major reductions in fishing effort and other measures to protect wild fish. Even
the Scottish Government concedes that;
"it is likely that impacts of aquaculture, and most probably the effects of sea lice and escapes of farmed fish, have contributed to the decline in (wild salmonid) stocks and may have slowed recovery of stocks in some rivers" Source: North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Or The Sea Lice Hypothesis
Farmed salmon, in common with other intensively reared animals must be treated with
medicines to keep them free from parasites and diseases. Two species of sea lice are major
pathogens on farmed and wild salmonids in Scotland, Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus
. These lice cause stress, physical damage and death to their salmonid hosts by grazing
on their mucous, skin, and tissues, and leaving them vulnerable to infections.
The Sea Lice Hypothesis describes how lice from fish farms can have serious impacts on wild salmonid populations. For example, say a typical Scottish fish farm contains half a million fish at its production peak, if only half of those fish are infected with one egg-bearing female sea louse there may be the release of an additional 25 million sea lice into the local waters. The combination of wind and current in a typical Scottish sea loch can transport large quantities of these lice towards river mouths, where they could cause abnormal infection levels on salmon or sea trout smolts as they emerge into the sea from their home rivers. The sea lice eat the mucous, blood and skin of the host fish and an infection of 10 or more lice is likely to be fatal for salmon and 20 or more is likely to be fatal for sea trout. These effects have been well established by science. Sea trout populations are more vulnerable to infection than salmon populations because they are likely to reside in the estuarial waters for much longer. The most controversial element of the hypothesis is whether sea trout mortality from lice infection is sufficient to have caused the observed sea trout population collapses on the west coast that have occurred over the last 30 years. Interactions between fish farm generated sea lice and wild salmonid species have been studied extensively and results show that lice from fish farms detrimentally impact wild salmonids, and have almost certainly contributed to wild stock declines in areas of Britain, Norway and Western Canada (Bjorn and Finstad, 2002; Butler, 2002;todd et al.,2004;KrKoseK et al.,2005). A recent study published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh providing evidence that sea lice infection can have large impacts on salmon populations, is summarised in Box 1 below.
Impact of Parasites on salmon recruitment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.
The data include 24 trials in which tagged smolts (totalling 283347 fish; 1996-2008) were released as paired control and parasiticide-treated groups into 10 areas of Ireland and Norway. All experimental fish were infection-free when released into freshwater, and a proportion of each group was recovered as adult recruits returning to coastal waters 1 or more years later. Treatment had a significant positive effect on survival to recruitment, with an overall effect (odds ratio) of 1.29 that corresponds to an estimated loss of 39% (CI: 18-55%) of adult salmon recruitment. The parasitic crustaceans were probably acquired during early marine migration in areas that host large aquaculture populations of domesticated salmon, which elevate local abundances of ectoparasitic copepods – particularly Lepeophtheirus Salmonis. These results provide experimental evidence from a large marine ecosystem that parasites can have large impacts on fish recruitment, fisheries and conservation. Source: Krkosek M, Revie CW, Gargan PG, Skilbrei OT, Finstad B, Todd CD. 2012 Impact of Parasites on salmon recruitment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Proc R Soc B 20122359 Box 1: Impact of Parasites on salmon recruitment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Further information
To find out more about the relationship between sea lice and the decline of salmonids please
see the following:
• Temporal and Spatial patterns of Sea Lice levels on Sea Trout in Western Scotland in relation to fish farm production cy).
• Relationship between sea lice infestation, sea lice production, and sea trout survival in • The Sea Trout Group ( • The Atlantic Salmon Trust ( Marine Scotland Sea Trout Project
In 1997 the Scottish Government's scientific agency the Fisheries Research Service (now Marine
Scotland Science) set up the Shieldaig Sea Trout Project in the Torridon area of NW Scotland
to ‘examine why there has been a collapse in sea trout and find ways to help restore them to
their former abundance'. The River Shieldaig runs into Loch Torridon, which currently has
four fish farms with a standing maximum biomass of 4000 tonnes. The project stocked the
River Shieldaig with sea trout eggs and generated an excellent run of smolts out of the river
but in nearly 15 years of trying has failed to establish any sort of run of returning sea trout.
The project has also closely monitored the levels of lice around the river mouths finding that
peak levels coincide with local fish farm production cycles. The Project also established a link
between high lice levels in the river mouths and ‘early return' syndrome. This occurs when
smolts entering the tidal water are so badly attacked by lice that they turn round and head
back upstream into fresh water where the lice cannot survive. In short, the evidence from
the Shieldaig project supports the Sea Lice Hypothesis. Further information on the Shieldaig
Project from the Marine Scotland can be obtained here
Large escape events from fish farms are often well publicised, they are frequently the result
of human error or bad weather. Annual escape statistics can be viewed on the Government
The other less well publicised source of farmed salmon into the environment is the escape of young salmon parr and smolts from fresh water hatcheries.
Farmed salmon compete with wild fish for food and habitat, and in some cases they interbreed with wild fish which can reduce genetic fitness and weaken the gene pool. Work carried out over 10 years at Ireland's Marine Institute Research Facility on the Burrishoole River System in County Mayo, showed that hybrid farm crossed with wild salmon have less chance of survival than a pure wild salmon, and that a large percentage of second generation wild x farm hybrids die within a few weeks of hatching due to a factor called ‘outbreeding depression'. A recent study in Norway demonstrated although generally, escaped farmed salmon have had poor to moderate success in the wild, some highly significant changes were observed in 4 populations due to genetic introgression of farmed fish [Glover et al 2012 three decades oF Farmed escapes in the wild: a spatio-temporal analysis oF atlantic salmon population Genetic structure throuGhout norway plos one 7(8)] Supply chain impacts
Farmed salmon are carnivorous, so a diet high in fish protein is essential
for their health. This diet also ensures high levels of omega acids in their
flesh – a key reason people buy it. The aquaculture industry is currently
dependant on wild capture fisheries to supply the fish meal and oil that
are used in the production of salmon food.

Salmon are more efficient at converting food to body weight than other farmed animals such as cattle, pigs, and hens, (which are also largely fed on fish meal products), but it takes around 4kg of fishmeal to produce 1 kilo of farmed fish. In 2010 the UK consumed 135,400 tonnes of fishmeal, of this 97,400 tonnes were imported, and 38,000 produced in the UK. In 2010 aquaculture consumed 73% of the fish meal produced globally.
Most fish meal supplies to the UK are from Europe, where the main ‘bait fish' species targeted are blue whiting, capelin, sand eel, horse mackerel, Norwegian pout, herring and sprat. More controversially bait fish meal is also sourced from South America, where jack mackerel, menhaden, anchovy and sardine are the target species, despite being important for human consumption. What impact does the fish meal industry have?
Bait fish are a vital source of food to wild fish (including commercially valuable species), birds
and mammals. Any activity which negatively impacts upon them will have adverse consequences
for other species, marine ecosystems and food chains. This can result in the presence of jelly
fish, increased growth of algae and a decline in the animals that prey on forage fish including
larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals in areas where bait fish have been depleted.
As the aquaculture industry expands in Scotland, so does its requirement for wild fish products. The Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF), (a Government funded think-tank) ranks the sustainability of fish meal and oil as one of four major priority research areas of ‘effects which pose a risk of cumulative, long-term or irreversible changes to ecological systems'. Food chain efficiency
It is estimated that it takes 4kg of wild caught fish to grow 1 kg of farmed salmon. It would be
more efficient to market the bait fish species that are suitable for human consumption directly
and so making use of the ‘lost' 3kg.
Future supply chain issues
Trimmings and rejects from capture fisheries and the aquaculture industry can be used to
make fish meal, it is hoped that this can take some of the pressure from dedicated fish meal
fisheries. Further information on this issue can be obtained from the following websites:
• Feeding the Fish: • For updates on stock status, information on bait fisheries and ICES advice on bait fish • The impact of fish meal production on South American communities and the environ- • The Peruvian anchovy - from fish meal to fish meals: Sea bed impacts
Salmon farming's impacts on the seabed arise from the fall of faecal matter,
waste feed and the chemical treatments used to control parasites. Of
particular concern is the impact of chemical treatments for sea lice, which
are introduced through feed and parasiticides.

The use of these chemicals is regulated by SEPA, who in effect license the pollution of defined areas of sea bed under the farms; these are referred to somewhat euphemistically as ‘Allowable Zones of Effbelow).

Unfortunately there is some evidence that the licensed pollution can spread outside of the AZE. Most sea lice treatments are removed from the water column by adhering to particulate matter, which falls onto the sea bed. As the crustacea that fishermen target live on the sea bed there is concern that these highly toxic insecticides are having an impact on species such as prawns, lobsters and crabs, and possibly some life stages of bivalves such as the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. Whilst many fishermen use creels in close proximity to fish farms with no problems, there are increasing anecdotal reports from the west coast of Scotland of creel fishermen finding dead and dying lobsters and prawns in their keeps and creels in areas near where fish farms are carrying out sea lice treatments. Sea bed under a salmon farm. Credit: David Ainsley.
Although various factors can detrimentally affect crustaceans in keeps (such as bad handling on deck, or fresh water influx), it is rare to find dead or dying animals in creels, (though some mortalities are expected from predation or fighting). Fishermen are aware of the normal attrition rates of their catch and notice if there are unusual mortalities. It is therefore of concern that unexpected increases in mortality have been recorded. SIFT believes that this issue should be monitored more closely. Chemicals treatments
Information on the main chemicals used in aquaculture and their potential
impacts are listed below.

Emamectin Benzoate Trade Name Slice
Emamectin benzoate use for sea lice control is increasing in Scotland and, in many loch systems, strategic treatments are being undertaken simulta-neously at several farm sites. There is very little information available on the environmental fate and ecological effects of emamectin benzoate in the marine environment. The organisms most likely to be affected by emamectin benzoate are those closely associated with the sediment as emamectin has low water solubility and a high potential to be adsorbed and bound to sus-pended particulate material. Emamectin remains in the sediment for around 175 day Trade Name Exis
A recent study concluded that even a single cage application of cyperme-thrin has the potential to create a plume of up to 1 km that may retain its toxicity for several hours. In that study, water samples collected up to 5 hours post-treatment were toxic to the benthic amphipod (a crustacean), Eohaustorius estuarius, causing immobilisation during 48 hour exposures. This has potential ecological implications because, in reality, cypermethrin treatments involve multiple releases daily, usually over several consecutive day Chemical
Trade Name
There is very little information available on the environmental fate and eco-logical effects of teflubenzuron in aquatic environments. The specific mode of action of teflubenzuron means it is highly toxic to aquatic crustacean inver-tebrates, but low in toxicity to fish, mammals and birds. As with emamectin benzoate, it is likely that the sediments will act as a sink for teflubenzuron and so sediment associated organisms are more likely to be affected by this Chemical
Trade Name Salmosan
Currently azamethiphos use for sea lice control on salmon farms is limited and will probably continue to decline as the use of in-feed treatments increases. Field studies in Scotland using deployed mussels and lobster larvae indicate that effects on marine organisms in the vicinity of treated cages are unlikely.
Sea bed monitoring
The Scottish Association of Marine Science has developed a model called DEPOMOD (and
its most recent manifestation Auto DEPOMOD) which aims to map discharges to the marine
environment. This is used by The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to predict
how faeces, waste food and chemicals from aquaculture developments are distributed to the
environment. Neither model takes into account more than one farm treating at the same time
within a body of water (synchronised treatments) - despite synchronised treatments within
loch systems being commonplace (because the practice optimises lice clearance).
DEPOMOD developmen Environmental Quality Standards
SEPA has set levels called Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) at which chemicals are
allowed to exist in the sediment surrounding a fish farm. These levels are monitored by SEPA
and the fish farms themselves.
SEPA monitoring
SEPA monitor the sediment adjacent to a small sample of salmon farms. In 2003 SEPA sampled
20 fish farms, of this sample 50% exceeded the EQS, at some farms the levels were three times
those permitted. Between 2003 and 2006 SEPA also found traces of unlicensed sea lice treat-
ments such as Ivermectin near some fish farms. SEPA were unable to follow up on this issue
as they were unable to conclusively attribute the residues to any specific fish farm. Reports
after 2006 do not indicate whether unlicensed chemicals were found. Despite evidence of
problems regarding the levels and types of chemicals being found around fish farms during
screening surveys from between 2003 and 2006 and sediment surveys in 2008 and 2009, SEPA
now tests less fish farms and fewer sample sites. The tonnage of Slice used on Scottish fish
farms increased from 28.6 tonnes in 2005 to 51.8 tonnes in 2009 so it is unlikely that breaches
in EQS will become less of a problem.
Self-monitoring by fish farms.
Monitoring sediments
Under the terms of Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) fish farmers are required to self-monitor the impacts that they are having on sea bed sediments. • Allowable Zone of Effect.
SEPA allows an effect from the operation of a fish farm in its immediate locality. There are two categories of Allowable Zone of Effect (AZE): › Inner AZE – These can be either a standard 25 m beyond the cages in any direction or they may be Site-specific AZEs – essentially these are teardrop shaped AZEs taking into account tides and currents that can in fact be bigger that the default cages plus 25 metres AZE. Where a farm gets an unsatisfactory benthic report SEPA often recom-mends that the farm moves to a site-specific AZE to ensure compliance (but not that this means any change at all in the amount of pollution being discharged).
› Far Field AZE, the area outside the fish farm plus a 100m margin.
More information on AZE's can be found in the SEPA guidance document entitled reGulation and monitorinG oF marine caGe Fish FarminG in scotland annex h methods For modellinG in-Feed anto-parasitics and Benthic eFFects issued in 2005.
In 2012 The Salmon & Trout Association published a report into official data on sea-lice treat-ment chemical residues in Scottish sea lochs associated with Scottish salmon farms.
The report, based on information obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) in the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), shows that, contrary to repeated assurances by the fish-farming industry, there are serious concerns over: • The failure of fish-farmers to report to SEPA self-monitored data concerning sea-lice chemical residues in the sea-bed of Scottish sea lochs. SEPA provided a list of 91 inci-dences of fish farms failing to provide benthic or sea-lice treatment residue data between 2005 and 2010 in Scotland; • Sea-lice chemical residues were in excess of Environmental Quality Standards at over 61 farms according to the SEPA data; • A reduction in audit or ‘check' monitoring of sea-bed residues of sea-lice chemicals by SEPA, despite its role as Scotland's environmental regulator.
The report may be found on the S&TA campaign website.
Common and grey seals can create problems for salmon farmers as they are attracted to the large numbers of fish in the cages. Fish farmers deal with seals either via Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) which emit sounds at a frequency and volume that cause seals (and other marine mammals) pain and discomfort, or by shooting them. Annual numbers of seals shot can be viewed h The later course of action often brings farmers into conflict with the public, environmentalist and wild life tourism operators, but ADDs create their own problems, as evidence suggests that they exclude other marine mammals such as porpoises and dolphins from significant areas of habitat, and may damage their ears. Several different models of ADDs are used, but SIFT understands that the acoustic characteristics of only one has been independently measured. Three studies

have found that ADDs have a long term impact on marine mammal distri-bution. A report commis-sioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) advises that all ADDs be properly studied before they are deployed (northridGe, s. 2002). The Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) recently published a paper entitled: assessment oF the impacts and utility oF acoustic deterrent devices, which can be found here Seals are regularly shot by aquaculture companies . This picture is for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Kevin Robinson/CRRU Following Decision 193/2012, Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) and the Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Information Commissioner requires the Scottish Government to reveal the numbers of seals killed by fish farming companies at individual sites. The Decision can be read in full on the Scottish Information Commission website .
Barriers to navigation
As the surface area of existing farms expands and new sites are obtained, traditional inshore fishing grounds are lost. This is particularly the case with winter fishing grounds which are by necessity in sheltered waters – sites that are attractive to aquaculture developers. This loss of sheltered waters also has implications for the inshore fishing sector, recreational boaters, anglers and tourists.

As the Scottish Law Commission has described, it is settled law that there is a public right to navigate at sea, which carries with it ancillary rights such as the right to anchor. A fish farm can potentially represent an interference with these rights both of in itself and cumulatively in relation to existing aquaculture sites.
Fish farms can present barriers to other users of sea lochs In respect of a grant of any lease of the sea-bed by the Crown Estate, the Scottish Law Commission has set out the legal position that "the grant must not constitute a material interference with the exercise of public rights. If the exercise of a public right is rendered impossible the public right prevails". Only "where the interference is minor the Crown's grant will prevail". This effectively restates the law as expressed by the Court of Session in crown estate commissioners v Fairlie yacht slip ltd (1979) sc 156 in which the Lord President stated that "the public right is undoubtedly wide but it should not be regarded as having been infringed save in circumstances in which what is done by or with the consent of the Crown constitutes or is likely to constitute a material interference with the exercise by members of the public exercising their right reasonably".
Further information on the rights to use the sea for leisure and recreation can be found on the Save Seil Sound campaign website (along with much other useful information.
Salmon farms are industrial structures which can be located in areas that are not accessible by road. As a result they can be found in locations that are otherwise unaffected by development and consequently have high landscape value to local communities and visitors. They can also be located in areas which are more accessible but remain cherished for their visual quality. In both circumstances, the benefits of development should be weighed against the benefits arising from the landscape into which they are being introduced. Scottish Natural Heritage designates areas of outstanding scenery as National Scenic Areas (NSAs). Legislation defines an NSA as an area of ‘outstanding scenic value in a national context' and states that ‘special attention is to be paid to the desirability of safeguarding or enhancing its character or appearance'. There are 40 NSAs in Scotland, 32 of which incorporate areas of coast line. See Fish farm developments are allowed to take place within these areas, though the NSA would be flagged up during the planning process and any impacts should be considered against the particular ‘special qualities' of the individual NSA. SNH have produced the document ‘The siting and design of aquaculture in the landscape: visual and landscape considerations' which has guidelines on best practice when sitting an aquaculture development.

What does Marine Scotland do?
Marine Scotland is an agency of the Scottish Government. Its self-declared aim is ‘to promote
sustainable economic growth from marine renewables industry and other marine and maritime
industries through integrated planning and, where appropriate, streamlined regulatory
frameworks'. Specifically, this includes promoting sustainable, profitable and well-managed
fisheries and aquaculture in Scotland.
Relevant legislation
One of the key pieces of legislation for Marine Scotland is the Marine (scotland) act 2010 which
provides a planning and licensing framework to balance competing demands on Scotland's
seas. Under section 3 of the Act the Scottish Government and its agencies have a duty to
"act in a way best calculated to further the achievement of sustainable development, including the protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the health of that area, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of that function" (See below for more information on Marine Scotland and Sustainable Development).
Under the Act, Marine Scotland also has a responsibility to prepare and develop a National Marine Plan, which must be in conformity with the Government's Marine Policy Statement.
Marine Scotland is also tasked with creating a network of conservation sites to protect and manage areas of importance for marine wildlife and habitats. These are known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Further information on MPAs can be found on the SNH website.
However, the licensing of fish farms largely remains outside the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Only where obstruction or danger to navigation is caused or is likely to result from the development of a new fish farm is a marine licence required for the construction, alteration or improvement of any construction works associated with the farm or for the deposit of any object or materials on the sea-bed.
Marine Scotland and Sustainable Development
In 2005 the Scottish Executive signed up to the Shared UK Framework for Sustainable Development
(). The aim
of the Framework is to form a basis for sustainable development policy on the following 5
1. Living Within Environmental Limits. Respecting the limits of the planet's environment,
resources and biodiversity – to improve our environment and ensure that the natural resources needed for life are unimpaired and remain so for generations.
2. Ensuring a Strong, Healthy and Just Society: Meeting the diverse needs of all people
in existing and future communities, promoting personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity for all.
3. Achieving a Sustainable Economy. Building a strong, stable and sustainable economy
which provides prosperity and opportunities for all, and in which environmental and social costs fall on those who impose them (Polluter Pays), and efficient resource use is incentivised.
4. Promoting Good Governance. Actively promoting effective, participative systems of
governance in all levels of society – engaging people's creativity, energy and diversity.
5. Using Sound Science Responsibly. Ensuring policy is developed and implemented on
the basis of strong scientific evidence, whilst taking into account scientific uncertainty (through the Precautionary Principle) as well as public attitudes and values.
The overarching aim of the Framework is to achieve the goal of living within environmental limits and a just society (principles one and two) and that this can be achieved by means of a sustainable economy, good governance and sound science (principles three, Four and Five).
What information does Marine Scotland hold?
Marine Scotland will hold details of any marine licence applied for or granted to a fish farm.
How to use the information supplied by Marine Scotland
Any general concerns should be raised with Marine Scotland, including any issues of non-
compliance with European Directives, such as the haBitats directive (92/43/ec) or environmental
impact assessment directive ((85/33/eec)
Marine Scotland Science &
Fish Health Inspectorate
What does Marine Scotland Science and the Fish Health
Inspectorate do?
Marine Scotland Science (MSS) is part of Marine Scotland. MSS conducts scientific research,
monitoring and surveillance of aquaculture. Through the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI),
which is part of MSS, it performs regulatory and enforcement activities. In practice, much of
the day-to-day regulation of aquaculture is conducted by MSS.
Relevant legislation
MSS regulates the containment of farmed fish and the control of sea lice on fish farms under
the aquaculture and Fisheries (scotland) act 2007.
There is also a statutory requirement for the FHI to carry out unannounced inspections under the ec directive 2006/88/ec (On animal health requirements for aquaculture animals etc.), ec reGulation 882/2004 and the aquatic animal health (scotland) reGulations 2009, although the majority of FHI inspections continue to be pre-arranged. Note that Marine Scotland Science has recently confirmed that the 2007 Act powers cannot be used to control sea lice on fish farms specifically for the benefit of wild fish or to reduce emissions of juvenile sea lice to the wider sea loch environment. The Fish Health Inspectorate believes that the 2007 Act deals only with controlling the impact of lice on the farmed fish. While the 2007 Act permits inspectors to use powers to control sea lice numbers on farms, the Fish Health Inspectorate has confirmed its view that the Act does not permit it to control of sea lice emissions from farms. There is, however, a widespread - and apparently erroneous - belief, for example, among
the planners, that the 2007 Act does act to protect wild fish from sea lice produced by fish farms.
It is SIFT's opinion that this belief has in part been promoted by the industry and by Scottish
Government itself to reassure wild fish interests that the sea lice issue is already covered by law.
MSS also acts as a statutory consultee on behalf of Scottish Ministers for aquaculture planning under the town and country planninG (scotland) act 1997 (as amended) providing consultation responses to local authorities on applications for new fish farms or the expansion of existing fish farms, covering environmental impacts, impacts on wild salmonid fisheries and fish health issues. MSS has produced Locational Guidelines for Marine Fish Farms in Scottish Waters - on the basis of predictive models to estimate the environmental sensitivity of sea lochs to nutrient enhancement and benthic impact potentially caused by aquaculture. What information does Marine Scotland Science hold?
MSS holds much information that is accessible under the environmental inFormation (scotland)
reGulations 2004
, including records of escapes, routine inspections of fish farms made by the
Fish Health Inspectorate, details of any enhanced inspections (formerly known as audits)
conducted for the purpose of sea lice control or containment. These inspections can give details
of sea lice problems, treatment issues or containment issues at existing fish farms.
A sample letter, requesting information on inspections etc. from MSS, can be found below (). Some information previously released by MSS to others under the 2004 Regulations can be found on the MSS website a In addition, MSS keeps an on-line register of all fish farm businesses, available a It also keeps a record of any reported and confirmed escapes of farmed fish at Equally important is the scientific research work conducted by MSS, which includes There is a mine of information on the MSS website, including research conducted by MSS into the link between sea lice on fish farms and damage to wild salmonid fish, seal predation, benthic impact etc.
Recent work commissioned or carried out by Marine Scotland Science includes:
scottish marine and Freshwater science volume 3 numBer 6: development oF a Gis Based aquaculture decision support tool (adst) to determine the potential impacts associated with the expansion oF salmon FarminG in scottish sea lochs. (2012) • impacts oF open pen Freshwater aquaculture production on wild Fisheries: Final Report June How to use the information supplied by Marine Scotland
When any inspections raise concern over sea lice control, escapes or other impacts from fish
farms on the wider environment, it is appropriate to ask MSS what action is proposed to deal
with the threat.
Communities may choose to refer to historic problems at existing fish farms to support their case against expansion when inappropriate planning permission applications are made in their locality. Marine Scotland Science Marine Laboratory PO Box 101 375 Victoria Road Aberdeen AB11 9DB 01224 876544 The Scottish Environment
Protection Agency (SEPA)
What does SEPA do?
Anyone wishing to establish a fish farm must apply to SEPA for a license under the water
environment (controlled activities) (scotland) reGulations 2011 (car licence)
Typically, a CAR license will set limits on the tonnage of fish that can be held in the cages and therefore the likely benthic impact from uneaten food and faeces from a fish farm. The CAR license will also control the use and discharge of sea lice treatment chemicals. In setting these limits, SEPA's stated aim is to ensure that fish farms operate within the capacity of the environment.
SEPA uses computer modelling as a guide to determining licensed discharge quantities of anti-parasitic chemicals and organic waste arising from marine fish farm operations. See More details of SEPA's role in regulating fish farms can be found at Also there is much more detail as to the exact process for controlling fish farms under CAR in SEPA's Fish Farm Manual at It is important to remember that SEPA disclaims any responsibility for the emission of juvenile sea lice from fish farms or the escape of farmed fish. The following statement given by Douglas Sinclair (a fish farming specialist with SEPA) in oral evidence to the rural aFFairs, climate chanGe and environment committee oFFicial report oF 5 dec 2012 reflects this: "We currently issue a licence for fish farms under the controlled activities regulations, and it contains a range of limiting conditions designed to keep the discharges from the fish farm within the capacity of the environment. We use a variety of models to set those limits, aiming to ensure that the environment outwith the immediate vicinity of the fish farm is protected. As I say, we use a range of models. Certain models are used to set the limit for the biomass on the farm—the amount of fish that can be kept on the farm—and different models are used to set the limit for the amount of chemicals that can be used to treat the fish. That can give rise to a situation in which, for example, the farmer can hold 1,000 tonnes of fish on the farm but may have access only to a sufficient quantity of medicines to treat 800 tonnes. In the consultation on the bill, there was a suggestion that there will be powers whereby we may be instructed to reduce the biomass consent in such circumstances to 800 tonnes—the amount of biomass that can be treated with the medicines that are available. We are open to that, but the provision does not appear in the bill because ministers probably already have that capability under their power to direct us to reduce biomass. Generally, we have never taken the step to reduce biomass for reasons of sea lice management, because we expect that farmers ought to keep farms at a level of stock that they can treat with the medicines that are available to them—that would be good husbandry. We felt that straying into the realms of dealing with biomass in relation to lice would be straying into fish health matters, which are not business for SEPA to attend to. We do reduce biomass for other reasons. For example, where the impact of a fish farm on the sea bed is unacceptable, we may reduce biomass at those farms—perhaps five to 10 farms a year would fall into that category. However, we do not generally reduce biomass for reasons of sea lice management. " Relevant legislation
SEPA has a general duty under section 33(1) the environment act 1995 to use its powers for the
‘the purpose of preventing or minimising or remedying or mitigating the effects of pollution
of the environment'. As may be seen from Douglas Sinclair's comments above, SEPA do not
consider the emission of sea lice from fish farms to be pollution.
Discharges from fish farms are regulated by SEPA under the Water environment (controlled activities) (scotland) reGulations 2005 (car) drawn under the water environment (water services) (scotland) act 2003 (wews). In general these powers must be exercised in a way that ensures there is ‘no deterioration' in the status of the water quality as required under the Water Framework Directive. Although it must be noted that under section 2(4)(a) oF wews, SEPA are able to have regard to the social and economic impact of the exercise of those functions SEPA is also a competent authority under the Habitats Directive, which requires it to ensure that it is beyond reasonable scientific doubt that any plan or project it authorises (such as a fish farm CAR licence) will not damage the integrity of an Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or the protected species for which it is designated. This duty has clear implications for SEPA when considering applications for new fish farms or fish farm expansions in or just near to marine SACs, where the impact of the fish farm could negatively affect protected species or the site itself.
SEPA has statutory duties under the nature conservation (scotland) act 2004, conservation (natural haBitats, &c.) reGulations 1994, and the water environment and water services (scotland) act 2003) to protect and safeguard biodiversity through its regulatory functions.
What information does SEPA hold?
SEPA maintains a Public Register of all CAR licences held by fish farmers and any reported
benthic monitoring or details of the discharge of sea lice treatment residues as may be required
by the licence.
Other relevant information, such as correspondence over new fish farm or fish farm expan-sion proposals, can be obtained from SEPA under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. SEPA may also hold the results of some audit monitoring of the sea-bed carried out by SEPA itself. Further, SEPA advertises any applications for CAR licences online. Full details of how to object will be held with the application which can normally be viewed on-line on the SEPA website – but it should be noted that information on this site may not stay online any longer than the statutorily-required period for consultation. How to use the information supplied by SEPA
During the process of application for and the issuing of a CAR license, there is a pre-consultation
phase. Prior to submitting an application, SEPA recommends that fish farmers discuss their
proposals with SEPA. SEPA states that this occurs without prejudicing the formal application
process. Any concerns that such a process is being conducted can be raised with SEPA.
The formal process of applying for a CAR license involves a number of steps and includes an advertising and consultation process. This is the most obvious opportunity to influence any decision SEPA may make. Following submission, advertising of the application and receipt of any objections, SEPA will consider the proposals and either grant or refuse a license. SEPA Corporate Office Erskine Court Castle Business Park Stirling FK9 4TR Check the SEPA website for the address of your local SEPA office Scottish Natural
What does SNH do?
SNH works with the planning authorities preparing development plans such as the Aquaculture
Framework Plan. It is a statutory consultee and engages with developers and planners at the
pre-application stage.
Relevant legislation
SNH has general aims and purposes given by section 1 of the natural heritaGe (scotland) act 1991.
In relation to the natural heritage these are to secure the conservation and enhancement of
the natural heritage of Scotland. SNH also has a wider duty to have regard to the desirability of
securing that anything done, whether by SNH or any other person, is undertaken in a manner
which is sustainable.
Specifically, SNH is responsible for the protection of any designated nature conservation sites such as Special Areas for Conservation (SAC) designated under the Habitats Directive and Sites of Special Scientific Interest designated under domestic legislation.
SNH will also advise other public bodies about the impact of a fish farm on the biodiversity of the seabed although the role of SNH does appear to be self-limited to concerns over protected habitats or species (under the Habitats Directive), landscape issues and where predator control of seals is likely to be an issue. If any nature conservation designations apply to, or are near to the area where a fish farm is or will be sited, the public can request information from Scottish Natural Heritage for full details of how the designated features of the sites concerned will be protected.
What information does SNH hold?
SNH website contains section setting out its Published Research. This includes; Commissioned
Reports, Reviews and Research, and Surveys and Monitoring Series. Some of these do relate
to Aquaculture; for example SNH Commissioned Report 460: Landscape/seascape capacity for aquaculture: Outer Hebrides pilot study (2011).
How to use the information supplied by SNH
As soon as communities are aware of a development that they feel will adversely affect the
natural heritage of the chosen site they should consult with SNH to check whether there are
any active conservation designations that might provide protection to the site and its fauna
and flora.
SNH Great Glen House Leachkin Road Inverness IV3 8NW The Crown Estate
What does the Crown Estate do?
The Crown Estate holds Crown lands and property for the benefit of the state. The Crown
Estate's role is to benefit the taxpayer by paying any income it earns from its assets (lands,
tenancies, etc.) directly to the Treasury and to improve the value of this property and the
income it generates.
Of direct relevance to marine fish farming is that the Crown Estate owns the sea-bed out to 12 nautical miles all around the UK, meaning that any fish farmer needs a lease of the seabed from the Crown Estate. While the sea-bed under each marine cage fish farm is leased from the Crown Estate and a fish farm operator must apply for a lease for the right to station a farm on the sea bed, it is not clear that the Crown Estate has the right to lease the surface of the sea or the water column to a fish farmer.
Relevant legislation
The Crown Estate is governed by the crown estate act 1961. Under section 1 of the 1961 Act,
the general duty of the Crown Estate Commissioners is to maintain and enhance the value of
the Crown Estate and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of
good management. ‘Good management' is not defined in the 1961 Act, but it must be arguable
that it nowadays must encompass a high degree of environmental protection.
The Crown Estate also has a duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity as set out in section 40(1) of the natural environment and rural communities act 2004.
Further, the Crown Estate is also a competent authority under the Habitats Directive, which requires it to ensure that it is beyond reasonable scientific doubt that any plan or project it authorises (such as a fish farm lease) will not damage the integrity of an SAC or the protected species for which it is designated.
This last duty has clear implications for the Crown Estate when seeking to grant leases for fish farms in or just near to SACs designated for Atlantic salmon, where the impact of the fish farm could negatively affect wild salmonids.
What information does the Crown Estate hold?
The Crown Estate is subject to normal rules governing freedom of access to environmental
information and copies of fish farm leases and correspondence between the Crown Estate
and would-be or actual lessees can be obtained from the Crown Estate in Edinburgh under
the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
Note that the Crown Estate is not a public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
A sample letter requesting information from the Crown Estate is set out below How to use the information supplied by the Crown Estate
It is not possible to know when an application for a lease of the sea-bed has been submitted
to the Crown Estate and in all probability a lease or an option for lease will already have been
granted by the Crown Estate by the time communities learn of plans for a new fish farm or
expansion of an existing farm.
Nevertheless, if for example, an SAC may be impacted, communities can raise concerns with the Crown Estate and ask to see how it has assessed, pursuant to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, the granting of a fish farm lease which will not negatively impact upon European protected species or nature conservation sites. Even where a European nature conservation site is not present, if, for example, sea trout may be affected, it is appropriate to ask the Crown Estate whether they have considered this in granting any lease and how they have complied with their wider environmental duties.
Alex Adrian The Crown Estate 6 Bell's Brae Edinburgh EH4 3BJ The Planning Authorities
What do Local Planning Authorities do?
Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are charged with granting planning permission for fish
farms in much the same way as they are for a new house or a development on land.
Of course, planning permission applications for fish farms can be a very complex area, including whether or not a fish farm planning proposal requires a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be carried out. There is a further level of complication when dealing with existing fish farms. Many existing fish farms were granted permission in the past by the Crown Estate. This has now changed with local authorities holding the planning function and granting planning permission for all new fish farms. This change does mean that some existing fish farms have yet to be granted planning permission. In relation to existing fish farms now being granted permanent planning permission under what is called the ‘Audit and Review' process, operated by Scottish Government in Edinburgh, details as to which farms may have been granted planning permission under this process can be obtained from Marine Scotland in Edinburgh.
Also planning authorities are responsible for enforcing planning controls. If a community is concerned about an existing farm, it should look at the planning permissions it enjoys and make sure that any planning conditions have been complied with – these are often forgotten once planning has been granted and yet it is reasonable to expect planning authorities to pursue them.
It is important to be clear about what is the precise role of planning authorities in consenting a fish farm. The Planning Authority, SEPA and Marine Scotland all have separate areas of responsibility and these should not be duplicated. For example issues relating to the consenting of biomass and the administration of treatments in the interests of pollution control will rest with SEPA and issues relating to the health of the fish within the farm remain the responsibility of Marine Scotland. It is for the planning authority to consider the impacts of the development on wild salmonids. That will necessitate the planning authority having to carefully consider both the adequacy of the containment of the site and the implications of the farm or its cumulative impact in terms of additional sea lice dispersal within the local waters and the impact that this may have upon wild fish. The planning authority will need to very carefully look at the lice management record of the applicant and of other farms within the vicinity of the planned new development. The salmonid sensitivity guidance currently being developed by RAFTS could be of great assistance to help planning authorities be aware of location where the risk to wild salmonids is great How to use the information supplied by Local Planning
All relevant Councils operate on-line planning application systems where application documents
can be read and commented upon.
It is important when responding to planning applications, that responses are as focussed as possible on relevant planning matters. For Scottish Government Planning Policy see Paragraphs 104 – 109 are most relevant to fish farming, but paragraphs on nature conservation and landscape in general are also of use. Key Planning Authorities
The key planning websites for the most relevant councils are:
The Highland Council
Comhairle nan Eilean Nan Siar (the Western Isles Council)
Argyll and Bute Council
Orkney Islands Council
Shetland Islands Council
One word of caution – the window of opportunity for responding to fish farm planning
applications is small and so communities need to move quickly once an application is advertised.
Also application documents may not stay online for long and are sometimes removed from
the websites after the periods for consultation required by law have expired.
What information do Local Planning Authorities hold?
As well as the online publication of all applications for new fish farms or the expansion of
existing fish farms, planning authorities also hold information concerning past applications.
Particularly in relation to existing fish farms which have planning permission, but are seeking to expand, the planning authority will be able to provide details of previous applications (granted, appealed or refused) from their files subject to the normal rules on access to environmental information. Many of the other statutory and public bodies featured in this guide are also consultees to the planning process. Their submissions can reveal any likely ‘official' opposition or concerns about an application which can then be used in the public's responses to an application. An official guide to how the different statutory and public consultees work in collaboration when dealing with fish farm planning applications can be found a Relevant legislation
The planning authority is governed by the town and country planninG (scotland) act 1997 and
related Acts. the planninG etc. (scotland) act 2006 and the town and country planninG (marine Fish
FarminG) (scotland) order 2007
brought marine fish farming under the planning permission
system operated by local authorities from 1st April 2007.
Importantly, marine fish farming is listed as a Schedule 2 development in the environmental impact assessment (scotland) reGulations 1999 as amended which requires farms of over 0.1ha in area or producing more than 100 tonnes or located in a sensitive area to be assessed to see whether a full EIA is required. If a full EIA is required, planning authorities are required to seek the expert advice of statutory consultees at various stages of the planning process before deciding on whether or not to grant permission.
Finally, planning authorities are competent authorities under the Habitats Directive, which requires them to ensure that it is beyond reasonable scientific doubt that any plan or project they authorise (such as a fish farm) will not damage the integrity of an SAC or the protected species for which it is designated. This last duty has clear implications for planners when considering granting planning permission for fish farms in or near to SACs, where the impact of the fish farm could negatively affect the SAC or its protected species.
Aquaculture industry
Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation
The Scottish salmon farming industry organisation represents over 95% of the tonnage of
Scottish salmon production.
There is plenty industry information on the SSPO website a The Aquaculture Code of Good Practice
All SSPO members participate in the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture.
Freshwater fishery
The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB)
The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards is the representative body for Scotland's 41 District
Salmon Fishery Boards including the River Tweed Commission. ASFB develops policy and
promotes best practice across the sphere of salmon and sea trout fishery management in
Scotland. These may be viewed on the ASFB website ).
ASFBS's policy paper on aquaculture may be viewed her
Fish Legal
A non-profit making organisation set up to use the law to fight pollution and other damage to
the water environment - both freshwater and marine. See
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation
An international organisation established by international Convention in 1984 to conserve,
restore, enhance and rationally manage Atlantic salmon through international cooperation,
taking account of the best available scientific information, including those issues relating to
aquaculture. See
Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland
Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) is an independent freshwater conservation
charity representing Scotland's national network of rivers and fisheries Trusts and Foundations.
RAFTS provides detailed analysis of the decline in salmon catches in the aquaculture zone. See RAFTS' Briefing to the Minister (drawn up with ASFB) on managing interactions between wild fish and salmon farming is available h The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA)
The S&TA is a UK charity which addresses issues relevant to fisheries legislation and regula-
tion, together with environmental and species management and conservation. The S&TA's
Aquaculture Campaign aims to move salmon farming towards a more environmentally
sustainable position but does not aim to close down fish farming in Scotland.
S&TA report on inspections of marine salmon farms in Scotland carried out by the Fish Health Inspectorate during 2009 and 2010 – sea lice and containment issu Reported sea lice treatment chemical residues in Scottish sea lochs Guy Linley-Adams Solicitor to the Salmon & Trout Association Aquaculture Campaign April 2012. AQUACULTURE
In their quest to meet their target expansion rate of 3-5% per year, aquaculture companies are constantly looking to develop new sites, expand existing sites, or make alterations to site leases so that salmon can be farmed in areas that were previously earmarked for shellfish. In some incidences a community may feel that an aquaculture development poses an unac-ceptable risk to the local environment and other businesses in the area, and so object to the application. While there is strong political support for fish farming in Scotland, opposing inappropriately sized or located new fish farms or fish farm expansion is extremely difficult. The majority of planning applications made for new fish farms or for an expansion of existing sites go through unaltered. Applications for the other licences and permissions needed by fish farmers are equally difficult to oppose in the current political climate. For those communities which wish to participate in the planning process for a new fish farm site or an expansion of an existing site, it is essential that they are able to access the relevant information and understand the role of each of the statutory and public bodies involved in the regulation and licensing process. This section of the Pack provides information on these processes. It is an overview and is not exhaustive. Whilst SIFT believes that the information it provides is accurate at the time of writing (2013), it recognises that changes to the process will inevitably occur and accordingly that interested parties may have to seek information from alternative sources.
Circular 1/2007 Planning Controls for Marine Fish Farming provides general guidance on the Acts, Regulations and Orders relevant to planning controls over marine fish farming. The following sets out the key steps in the process.
STAGE ONE: Preparation and Submission of Application
In the initial instance the developer will approach the Local Planning Authority. (For a brief
summary of the role of Local Planning Authorities refer to The LPA will advise the developer to consult with relevant parties, this is not a
legal requirement but it is a requirement of industry protocol issued through Improved System
for Licensing Aquaculture Development (ISLAD), the Ministerial Group on Aquaculture. It
will be a key priority for the developer to establish whether the development will require an
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Environmental Impact Assessments seek to ensure that the environmental effects of major projects and development proposals are fully investigated, understood and taken into account via the provision to the Planning Authority of an Environmental Statement, before decisions are made on whether the development should proceed. The Framework for an EIA is provided by ec directive 85/337/eec as variously amended and as now codified in 2011/92/eu. The assessment is carried out by, or on behalf of, the developer and is submitted along with the application for consent or authorisation and is also made available to the public.
Marine fin fish farms come within the scope of intensive fish farming in Schedule 2 of the environmental impact assessment (scotland) reGulations 2011. The Regulations require ‘Schedule 2' developments in a sensitive area, or which exceed certain thresholds or meet certain criteria, to be screened for their environmental impact before they can be granted planning permis-sion. For a fin fish farm (shellfish farms do not come under the scope of the Regulations) the thresholds are that the proposed development is designed to hold a biomass of 100 tonnes or greater; or that the proposed development will extend to 0.1 hectares or more of the surface area of the marine waters, including any proposed structures or excavations The developer will submit a screening and scoping application to the Planning Authority using the standard template developed by the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF). This will allow the Planning Authority to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required and if so what it should cover. Accepted EIA methodology is to identify clearly: • the baseline environmental conditions; • the impact on key receptors; • mitigation measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and where possible offset any signifi- cant adverse effects on the environment; • the overall magnitude of the impact on the environment.
The planning authority must decide if an EIA is required within 3 weeks of receiving a request. If an EIA is required, statutory consultees must be approached: they are the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland Science, and the District Salmon Fisheries Boards. Whilst there is no formal procedure whereby the public can submit information to the developer for inclusion in the EIA's Environmental Statement the Directive does advise that ‘assessment should be conducted on the basis of appropriate information supplied by the developer, which may be supplemented by the authorities and by the public likely to be concerned by the project in question.' Though formal objections can only be made at stage 2, any community group wishing to respond to an aquaculture application should organise themselves at the earliest opportunity. If the developer has consulted as per industry protocol then the wider community should hear about the proposal before a formal application is made (see Islay case study, below).
STAGE TWO: Consultation, Consideration and Determination
On receipt of a planning application the local authority must advertise it in the local press and
on the council web site so that formal objections can be made. Objectors will normally have
between 14 and 28 days to object depending on whether an EIA has been submitted. If formal
representation is not made there is no recourse to object.
It is important to note here, that even if a formal EIA was not required, the response to a planning application should assess potential environmental impacts.
In considering the application, the planner must seek to balance competing interests in a way that is fair and transparent. The planner will be particularly guided by the Local Development Plan which will set out the Local Planning Authority's priorities and there will be a presumption in favour of development in accordance with that Plan. National priorities are set by Scottish Planning Policy (the statement of the Scottish Government's policy on nationally important land use planning matters) and these are set out from paragraphs 104 to 109 of the policy document (see In short; aquaculture is seen nationally as being an important industry particularly for coastal and island communities where it can provide employment. Accordingly, Local Authorities are advised to ‘support the development of new and modified fish farms in appropriate locations.' The Planning Authority is required to make its determination in accordance with the provisions of the Local Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Where there are any such material considerations they must be identified and assessed as to whether they are of such weight as to indicate that the development should not be accorded priority.
When considering planning applications Local Authorities should also take into account: • the direct and cumulative effects of the proposed development on the environment › carrying capacity › visual impact and effects on the landscape › sea bed impacts • the needs of local communities • the effects on traditional fishing grounds, netting stations and angling interests • impacts on recreational use of the inshore area • the economic benefits of the sustainable development of the fish farm industry The Planning Authority must take account of the contents of any Environmental Statement submitted in so far as they relate to planning considerations. Failure to provide a robust, independent and accurate assessment of the potential impacts on receptor populations will mean that the EIA has failed to properly demonstrate that environmental risks have been assessed and mitigated and that is sufficient grounds for a Planning Authority to refuse a development.
Appropriate Assessments under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EC
If the development is within a Natura site (the term given to Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)) then there will also need to be an ‘Appropriate Assessment' under the conservation (natural haBitats, &c.) reGulations 1994, usually called simply ‘the Habitats Regulations'. This requires competent authorities to undertake an Appropriate Assessment when a plan or project affecting a Natura site: • is not connected with management of the site for nature conservation; and • is likely to have a significant effect on the site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects) An Appropriate Assessment is therefore required for developments having the potential to affect a Natura site, no matter how distant the site. The Assessment will focus on the qualifying interests of the site and consider the development's impacts on the conservation objectives of the site. There is no set format to an Appropriate Assessment but it must answer the question as to whether a development will adversely affect the integrity of the Natura site. Scottish Natural Heritage will advise Marine Scotland whether a fin fish or shellfish farm site requires an Appropriate Assessment. If a farm is assessed and it is determined that it does not adversely affect the integrity of the Natura site, then planning permission may be granted. If not, planning permission can only be given for the site if there are no alternative solutions and if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest for doing so. The Planning Authority may provide a temporary planning permission, which will allow it to assess some of the impacts of the development before considering whether to grant permanent permission.
The Decision is usually made under delegated powers by a local planning officer. If a statutory
consultee has objected, the application will be determined by the council committee instead of
being delegated to a planning officer, this has a bearing on the route of appeal by the applicant.
The applicant has the right to appeal any decision for refusal, or any conditions attached to an approval. If the decision has been made at officer level (i.e. a delegated decision) then the appeal is heard by the Council Planning review panel. If the decision was made at a committee level then the appeal goes directly to Scottish Ministers.
There is no third party right of appeal, which means members of the public can take no further action.
Audit and Review Process
Policy and legislative background
All new aquaculture development applications (as well as modifications to existing ones) are
made to the Planning Authority. This was not always the case; from 1976 the Crown Estate
operated a non-statutory scheme of development consent based on Landlord / Tenant lease
contracts (typically of 10-15 years duration) for marine fish farm proposals in all areas except
Shetland and Orkney. The dual role of the Crown Estate as the owner of the sea bed and
consenting body for marine fish farming development, led to concerns over conflict of interest
and accountability of decisions, and resulted in calls for a change. In November 1999 it was
proposed that the aquaculture development responsibilities exercised by the Crown Estate
should be transferred to Scottish Local Authorities.
In 2003, the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act provided enabling powers to bring marine fish farms into the land use planning regime. Following further consultation the town and country planninG (marine Fish FarminG) (scotland) order 2007 came into force on 1 April 2007, which gave planning authorities full planning responsibility to grant permanent planning permissions to aquaculture developments in marine waters. On the transfer of responsibility to Local Authorities, there were some 917 farms (both finfish and shellfish) that had been consented under the previous scheme and which needed to be assessed to determine whether they ought to be granted permanent planning permission. Existing fish farms go through one of 2 processes - either a Review or an Audit. The Review Process
Fin fish sites are Reviewed if they were consented before 1999 (and have not been modified
since then in a way that would require a whole-farm EIA screening under the 1999 Regs).
These farms were likely to have been assessed under the Environmental Assessment (Salmon
Farming in Marine Waters) Regulations 1988, which are regarded as less robust than the 1999
Regulations. The Review considers whether the farm is likely to have a significant impact on the
environment or affect the integrity of a designated site or species under the Habitats Directive.
Marine Scotland will identify pre-1999 fin fish sites that have not been subjected to EIA screening. It will contact the fish farm operators to explain the process and to determine whether they would like the sites to be Reviewed. Operators have 4 weeks to confirm whether they want a particular site to be Reviewed. If operators confirm that they do not wish a site to be Reviewed at all, Marine Scotland will remove it from the list of Reviews and take no further action. This means that the site will have no development consent when the lease runs out or at 31 March 2013 (whichever is the latter), and if it is operating after this date, will be doing so illegally. If the operator does wish to commence a Review, Marine Scotland will upload partially-completed application and EIA screening forms to ‘SharePoint' for completion by the operator. The site operator is alerted when the application form is uploaded and is asked to complete it within 6 weeks. The screening template in particular asks for information on a range of environmental impacts that will inform statutory consultees and assist consideration as to whether an Environmental Statement is required. The EIA screening form asks operators to identify nearby sensitive sites or habitats, provide documentation relating to environmental management at the site and to provide their assess-ments of the site as regards twelve specific potential impacts. The statutory consultees are invited to provide their assessment of the twelve EIA screening impacts and on any other issues important to the consultee. They are also asked to provide a formal ‘screening opinion' on whether an EIA is needed and, if so, to identify the issues that an Environmental Statement ought to address. They are asked to respond within 6 weeks. Marine Scotland will assess the information provided by the operator and consultees. If it appears that the continued operation of the site will not give rise to any significant environmental impacts, a Negative Screening Opinion will normally be issued. This means that the development has been screened out of requiring an EIA.
Before reaching a formal Negative Screening Opinion and deciding on the review application, Marine Scotland will ask the Planning Authority if it wishes to express any planning views not covered in its screening response. This is an opportunity for the authority to advise Marine Scotland of any issues not directly related to the twelve specific impacts and to request that mitigating planning conditions be attached to the consent. The Planning Authority is asked to respond within two weeks.
When Marine Scotland has made its decision, all parties will be notified of the decision and the documentation circulated.
The Audit Process
Fin fish sites are Audited if they have already been assessed under the EIA Regulations 1999
and benefit from a Negative Screening Opinion, or have been the subject of a published
Environmental Statement. In addition the site must deploy the same equipment at the time
of the Audit as it did when the Negative Screening Opinion or Environmental Statement was issued. The Audit seeks to establish that the proper processes had been carried out prior to consent being given and that there have been no changes to the consented equipment at the site in the meantime. Consideration is also given to whether farm sites are likely to affect the integrity of a designated site or species under the Habitats Directive, and thus require an Appropriate Assessment. AQUACULTURE &
The potential for aquaculture companies, with their preference for inshore
sites, to come into conflict with existing users of inshore waters has risen
as the number of aquaculture sites has increased.

In some instances, communities have had concerns about unacceptable risks to the local environment, while in others the primary concerns have been over the impacts on existing businesses. While there continues to be strong political support for fish farming in Scotland, opposing inappropriately sized or located new fish farms or fish farm expansion is extremely difficult. The majority of planning applications made for new fish farms or for an expansion of existing sites go through unaltered. Applications for the other licences and permissions needed by fish farmers are equally difficult to oppose in the current political climate. This Section of the Information Pack provides information on how coastal community groups can become engaged in the planning process, and maximise the influence that they have over the management of their local waters.
How a community should
deal with applications for
new farms
Form a Local Aquaculture Interest Group
An important first step is to form a group of local people willing to assess the impact of an
aquaculture proposal on the community. The group should assess both the potential benefits
of the development and its costs. If an application does not present a risk to existing businesses
or the environment, and it is clear that the developers have taken a decision to proactively avoid sensitive areas, the community group might support that application. This will generate goodwill with the developer in question and any subsequent responses to other applications may carry more weight with both the planners and the applicant.
However this is not necessarily an easy exercise and groups should remember that once an aquaculture site has planning permission, it will be difficult to get it moved.
Build Your Case
If a group decides to oppose an application then it will need to build the strongest case it can.
It should:
• list the potential impacts • assess as far as possible the economic implications of those impacts • decide how best to provide evidence of those impacts • look at section 5 of this information pack for those issues that are material considerations for the planning officer Create a campaign�
A public campaign can make all the difference. Initial steps include:
• Building a team to deliver the campaign • Involving the whole community • Holding regular meetings and minuting them properly • Getting as much media attention as possible. Notify as many journalists as you can • Developing a website to inform and focus attention, and keep followers updated through social media outlets • Assessing what other allies exist and signing them up w for examples of successful public campaigns Lodge your objections with the Council
Ensure that you fully understand all the processes and the time limitations.
Case studies
Plocropool Harris
This site was initially owned by West Minch Salmon (WMS) and had planning approval for 14
x 70m cages producing 1091.6 tonnes per annum (08/00387). This was granted in November
2008. But the site was never developed by WMS. Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) bought WMS,
and in March 2011 submitted an application to develop the site with a larger cage group of
20 x100m cages with an increase in production to 2400 tonnes per annum, plus a 150 tonne
feed barge.
This area is of significant economic importance to inshore fishermen, who were opposed to the application, particularly following questions about the environmental survey carried out by the applicant, and the accuracy of the charts used, this would have implications for the Auto Depomod model used to determine whether a site has adequate depth and flushing to enable the excreta and chemicals commonly used in salmon farming to be properly dispersed. Fishermen in the area funded an independent survey of the area which highlighted concerns about the accuracy of a survey carried out by the fish farm. They submitted this report to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
A petition of over 600 names was submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The Western Isles Fisherman's Association estimated that the economic loss to local shell fishermen would have been around £50,000 per annum. No consultation was undertaken by the SSC.
The SSC withdrew the application for the larger site on the 7 November 2011, but are developing the site with the original approved lease.
Broad Bay Isle of Lewis
Broad Bay on the North East coast of Lewis is one of the few open bays in the outer Hebrides
which does not contain a fish farm. The Laxdale, the Coll, the Gress and the Creed rivers flow
either into Broad Bay or adjacent bays. All of these rivers have populations of salmon and sea
trout, species that are known to be detrimentally affected by the salmon farming industry.
Restoration work had been carried out on these rivers with great success. As a result of the
improved fish stocks, there has been a marked increase in the number of anglers visiting the
A campaign to prevent the proposed development of 12 pens and a feed barge at Sron Alla Tolan, with a shore base at Brevig Harbour, by Scottish Salmon Company started in January 2010. The community feared that a fish farm at this site would have a devastating impact on wild salmonids, and the jobs that rely on them. The group was not against aquaculture in general; their campaign was focused on Broad Bay and the specific impacts that a salmon farm would have on the local environment and economy. 1500 people opposed the development. A survey in 1999/2000 showed that at that time angling was worth more than £5 million per annum to the Outer Hebrides economy, and supported 260 full time jobs. In March 2011 the Planning Application was refused; councillors decided that Scottish Salmon Company's Environmental Statement was deficient in various respects relating to potential impacts on wild fish. Scottish Salmon Company continue to look for new sites around the Western Isles. See Islay
Two sites on the east coast of Islay, one south of Port Askaig, off McArthurs Head and the
other at Claggain Bay were proposed by the Scottish Salmon Company comprising 16 cages in
2 groups of 8 covering 236,800m2 plus an automated feed barge, with an annual production
of 2500 tons.
There are currently no fish farms on Islay which places it in an unusual position amongst the Scottish Islands. Islay has a strong island community that relies heavily on fishing, environmental tourism, whisky production, and sport fishing. The community felt strongly that any short term benefits that a fish farm would have for the Scottish economy would be outweighed by the lasting damage to the environment and the local community. A petition was created with 850 signatures gathered locally – 649 from people that lived on the island. 1700 names were added to this from an online petition. A group formed which brought together the Clyde Fishermen's Association, local land owners, angling club representatives and representatives from the tourist industry on the island. This group was called Islay Against Salmon Growers (IASG).
IASG campaigned hard to raise awareness of the detrimental effects that salmon farming in the area would have on local businesses and the environment. The Islay Community Council (ICC) was instrumental in seeking local opinion having approached the initial consultation with an open mind. Realising the level of opposition to the application they wrote to SSC to explain the situation, this letter along with an explanatory article from IASG was published in the Ileach 16th of June 2011. The SSC responded to the Ileach on the 30th of July but failed to allay the concerns regarding the impact on the local community and the environment. Wider publicity followed with the national press picking up on the story.
On 3 August 2011 SSC's application was withdrawn. The SSC are understood to be looking for alternative sites around Islay and Jura.
IASG would like to broaden the debate regarding fish farms to include all of Scotland, with a view to shaping future fish farm policy and to learn from the experiences of other countries. See Getting information on
fish farms via information
If you think your local waters are being affected by aquaculture, you should consider investigat-
ing the matter through your statutory right to request information from public authorities.
You can do this by making a request under the environmental inFormation (scotland) reGulations
or the Freedom oF inFormation act 2000 – both of which give the public the right to request
information held by "public authorities" – which might mean the Scottish Government itself
or any of its agencies and quangos including SEPA, MS, SNH.
Most information sought by community groups concerned about aquaculture is likely to be ‘environmental information' and this is dealt with under the more powerful Environmental Information Regulations. These Regulations give members of the public the right of access to environmental information, and were enshrined in European law for almost a decade before the Freedom of Information Act was passed. Environmental information is divided into the following six main areas:
1. The state of the elements of the environment, such as air, water, soil, land, fauna (includ- ing human beings); 2. Emissions and discharges, noise, energy, radiation, waste and other such substances; 3. Measures and activities such as policies, plans, and agreements affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment; 4. Reports, cost-benefit and economic analyses; 5. The state of human health and safety, contamination of the food chain; 6. Cultural sites and built structures (to the extent they may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment).
Salmon farms are monitored by various bodies, some of which hold records that can be obtained by the public via freedom of information requests. See section 4 of this Information Pack for a summary of which organisations are responsible for each aspect of monitoring. What is my right to information?
You can ask for any information you believe an authority might have. There is a presumption
in favour of disclosure of any information held by a public authority - that is the starting
point. This does not, of course, mean you will always get what you want. The rights of access
to information are not absolute.
There are sometimes valid reasons why some kinds of information will be withheld. Note, however, that the public authority has to justify withholding information. The range of reasons for why you may not be given information is set out in the Regulations. But information can be withheld, for example, if it relates to someone's personal details (which are protected under the Data Protection Act) as are certain intellectual property rights. Information can also be withheld on grounds of commercial confidentiality or if it is the subject of on-going legal proceedings. If you are asking about pollution with pesticides, for instance, always note that some of the usual reasons for withholding information cannot apply when the information you are after relates to ‘emissions' to the environment. Often decisions on disclosure are subjected to a ‘public interest test'; i.e. is it in the public interest that the information is disclosed or not? Where does the balance lie? How do I make a request?
Please remember that a public authority is not obliged to deal with vexatious or repeated
requests. Make them polite, detailed, reasonable, clear and easily understandable.
You do not have to say why you want the information and the public authority has no right to withhold information on that basis. That said, it can help if you do say why you want it, as the public authority might offer you other information in addition – they are under a duty to assist you in your requests. You must contact the public authority in writing (this includes email) and provide your name and an address for a response. Although under the Environmental Information Regulations, requests can also be made verbally, this is not advisable and you may need to show the detail of the request you made at a later date. There is no need to say you are asking for information under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations, but mentioning them can help. Always keep a copy of all the letters you send or receive. What to ask for when investigating aquaculture:
If you write to SEPA or Marine Scotland you can ask for such information as:
• data on sea lice infestation for particular farms over a reasonable time period – say 5 • treatment regime data including details of what chemicals are used to treat infestations and the frequency of use and concentration for particular farms; • records from SEPA's own investigations or inspections of farms.
Sample letters are shown below.
What happens next?
Public authorities must respond to information requests within 20 working days. But this
limit can be extended for complex and bulky information, in which case the authority must
inform you.
If the request you made is for a great deal of information there may be a charge. This can be a deterrent to smaller groups asking for information.
However, there are strict rules about what a public authority can and cannot charge for – if you think you are being charged too much, then refer to the Information Commissioner's guidance a What if the information is refused?
When a public authority decides not to disclose information, it must specify the reason, and,
where relevant, explain its arguments. If you are unhappy with the information you have
been given, or the reasons given for withholding information, in the first instance you must
complain to the pubic authority itself.
If you remain unhappy with the response you have been given when the public authority has "reviewed" its decision, you can complain to the Information Commissioner if the public authority has failed to: • provide the information which you requested; • tell you if they hold relevant information; • respond to your request within time limits (normally 20 working days); • give proper advice and help; • provide information in the form in which you requested it; • properly explain the reasons for refusing the request; • correctly apply an exemption under the Regulations – in other words, they have refused to disclose information for the wrong reason; or • they have overcharged you for providing information. You will need to provide the Information Commissioner with information in support of your complaint otherwise it may not be considered. If you are in any doubt about your rights to information or the application of the various reasons for withholding informa-tion that you receive, please contact the Information Commissioner's Office on or see the website at Examples of letters for
requesting information
Precedent letter A

The Crown Estate 6 Bell's Brae Edinburgh EH4 3BJ Re: Fish farm proposed for…. / proposed expansion at…… Pursuant to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, I would be grateful if you could supply the following information: 1. Any reports, data, research or other information of whatever nature held by the Crown Estate in relation to the fish farm sites (actual or proposed) mentioned above. 2. All correspondence, whether by letter, email or notes of telephone conversations between the Crown Estate and any third party (including the relevant planning authority, Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Marine Scotland Science (formerly Fisheries Research Service) relating to the fish farm sites (actual or proposed) mentioned above. 3. Copies of any leases of the sea-bed granted to any third party by the Crown Estate relating to the fish farm sites (actual or proposed) mentioned above. Yours faithfully. Precedent letter B
Fish Health Inspectorate Marine Laboratory PO Box 101 375 Victoria Road Aberdeen AB11 9DB Re:- Fish farm at…. I would be grateful if pursuant to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 you would supply the following information as may be held by Marine Scotland Science / Fish Health Inspectorate: 1. All written records of all inspections of the marine salmon farm at ……. carried out by Marine Scotland or the Fish Health Inspectorate over the last ……. years. 2. All correspondence to / from Marine Scotland Science or the Fish Health Inspectorate and any other party concerning the [proposed] [existing] fish farm at ….…. such correspondence to include letters, faxes, emails, records of telephone conversations or direct conversations or meetings. This request is made pursuant to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. Yours faithfully. Information for fishermen
who find dead crustacea in
their creels
Background Information
SIFT believes that communities should be involved in the monitoring of their local salmon
farms, especially if there is a risk of a conflict of interest between the farm and established
economic activities. One potential area of conflict is between salmon farms and creel fishermen.
• If dead or dying crustacea such as prawns, lobsters or crabs are thought to have been affected by a pollution incident SEPA advise that the following steps should be taken; • A note should be made of the location and time at which the animals were recovered and of any activities which are occurring or have recently occurred in the area. If the sample collected is a portion of those which were found a note should be kept of the extent of the impact, such as numbers killed.
• Any affected or recently deceased animals should be preserved by wrapping them in tin foil and freezing them at the earliest opportunity. Prior to freezing they should be kept as cool as possible. Treating the animals in this way will preserve them appropriately for many months.
• Contact should be made as soon as is practicable with the local SEPA office or by phoning the pollution hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (this operates 24 hours 7 days a week) to report the
incident and determine an appropriate course of action.
If, at a later date, the animals are to be shipped to a laboratory for analysis they should be transported in a cool- box with freezer packs to ensure they remain preserved.
Depending on the nature of the incident analysis of the dead animals may or may not be worthwhile. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Case Study - Loch Shell Lewis
Loch Shell is a large sea loch situated on the south east coast of Lewis. It is an important fishing
ground for inshore fishermen providing protection from the weather for their relatively small
boats. Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd (MHSL) operates a fish farm in Loch Shell.
During spring 2010 creel fishermen noticed dead and dying lobsters and nephrops in their fleets of creels, and a decline and then absence of non-target fauna. This coincided with a time when the fish farm was seen to be carrying out many bath treatments to try and manage sea lice. The affected area stretched from the fish farm towards the head of Loch Shell. Areas outside Loch Shell were not affected.
One of the fishermen was Donald MacLeod who had sustainably fished for nephrops in the Loch Shell area for 8 years from the Rosie B, a boat of 21 foot. He contacted the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) who confirmed that fish farm treatments had been of a very high quantity and frequency during the last cycle. SEPA carried out sediment testing and took away dead and dying prawns from a fleet of creels in the loch. Mr MacLeod continued to try and fish the area but it remained sterile. There was a slow return of mobile forms of life such as crabs and starfish, but it was clear that it would be a long time before nephrops stocks recovered enough to form a commercially viable fishery once more.
SEPA sediment tests showed Cypermethrin at 1.24 micrograms per kg and Emamectin Benzoate at 1.31 micrograms per kg in an area outside of the Allowable Zone of Effect (AZE), exceeding the Environmental Quality Standard for Emamectin Benzoate which is 0.763 g/kg outside the AZE. There are no sediment quality standards for Cypermethrin in the UK (SEPA report tr – 060830jBt 2006).
SEPA asked Mr MacLeod if he could prove the source of the chemicals in the water. Obviously this would be virtually impossible for him to prove. SEPA discarded the prawns that had been taken from Loch Shell without sampling them.
Donald MacLeod relied on the fishing in Loch Shell for between half and two thirds of his income, following the incident described above it became impossible for him to remain in business as a fisherman. SIFT is a Scottish Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee (no.399582). Registered Scottish Charity (no.sc042334). 15 Eildon Street Edinburgh EH3 5JU



BMJ 2012;344:e615 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e615 (Published 2 March 2012) Cost effectiveness of strategies to combat vision and hearing loss in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia: mathematical modelling study Rob Baltussen senior researcher 1, Andrew Smith honorary professor 2 1Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, PO Box 9101 6500HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands;2Centre for Disability and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Inhibitory Contributions to Spatiotemporal Receptive-Field Structureand Direction Selectivity in Simple Cells of Cat Area 17 ADITYA MURTHY AND ALLEN L. HUMPHREYDepartment of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261 Murthy, Aditya and Allen L. Humphrey. Inhibitory contributions spond well to motion in one direction across their receptive