Posted by: Peter Urpeth | March 2, 2010

Campaign Press Release – Fish Farm risk to island seatrout stocks

sealice on Broad Bay sea trout

Press Release – For Immediate Use
1st March 2010

Broad Bay Fish Farm risk to all island wild salmon and sea trout –
Call for halt on all fish farm development in Broad Bay until further research has conducted
Information obtained by the No Fish Farm In Broad Bay campaign highlights the importance of Broad Bay to wild salmon and sea trout populations across the waters of the Outer Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland, and the risk the proposed fish farm in Broad Bay represents to all island fisheries.

Sea trout caught recently in the Tolsta and Broad Bay area were found to be contaminated with large numbers of sea lice, and in quantites not consistent with known and tested levels of infestations charted in recent scientfic surveys in the Broad Bay/Gress River system.
Photos of the catch, along with details of the place and date of location of the catch, and more recently a sample, were sent for scientific examination and preliminary conclusions suggest that the seatrout caught in Broad Bay had been infected 4-5 weeks prior to being caught locally. None of the sea lice present on the locally caught fish were very young, a factor consistent with the claim of the likely time period for infection. The infection was most certainly the consequence of the sea trout coming to Broad Bay from an area of fish farming activity where the fish were exposed, as one analyst described it, ‘to a short, sharp exposure’ of sealice contamination. The fish caught in Broad Bay could only have come from local areas where there are fish famrs, such as Loch Roag, Erisort, Shell or even Laxford.
The fish caught were in poor condition, and it is very likely that increased exposure to raised levels of sealice in Broad Bay, as a consequence of any new fish farm in the area, would have the result of considerably increased rates of fatality with serious implications for the sea trout stocks of many local rivers – including the Gress, Coll, Laxdale and Creed systems.
With Broad Bay being one of only two sea lochs and significant bays in Lewis without fish farms, there is a need for the area to be established as an important ‘fire break’, enabling fish exposed to disease and stress elsewhere in the localities where there are fish farms to have feeding grounds on their migratory and other movement routes that do not add to their risk exposures.     
Peter Urpeth, spokesperson for the No Fish Farms In Broad Bay campaign, said:
‘The evidence that has been gathered and analysed clearly shows that Broad Bay is an important area not just for the sea trout stocks of the Gress, Coll and Laxdale rivers, but for the Creed and potentially many other local rivers as well. The migratory patterns of sea trout around our coasts are to some extent documented, but these infected catches show that Broad Bay is used by fish from a very large catchment area. This fact now needs to be fully explored, and we are calling on the Comhairle, SNH, SEPA and the fish farmers to call a halt to all development in Broad Bay and to work with such bodies as the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust to conduct fish tag surveys so that their migratory routes can be fully understood, and the areas and locations that are causing these sea lice infestations, identified. The new risk to fish stocks across the islands, that the Broad Bay fish farm represents, is simply too great to permit until these increased infestations have been fully explored and the importance of Broad Bay to sea trout stocks has been fully understood.’   
The sea trout caught recently in Broad Bay also carry abrasions the cause of which has not as yet been fully explained. Samples have been sent for analysis, but which may also be consistant with exposure to fish farms.
The No Fish Farms In Broad Bay campaign can be contacted via:
The campiagn website is at:



  1. There is no doubt that the fish farms are destroying our natural fish stocks. We must stop this proposal for another site and stop and remove all sea fish farms around the coast of Scotland totally and don’t forget, it will take many years for them to recover.
    The Scotish government needs to take responsibility for the destruction of wild salmonids around the UK due to fish farming and put measures inplace to reverse this scenario.

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