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Too Many Dead Fish!

The Scottish salmon farming industry has been described as unsustainable causing irrevocable environmental damage – “a toxic industry dependent on a cocktail of hazardous and dangerous chemicals including known lobster killers”. Daily Mail 6 March 2018.

The Holyrood Committee on Scottish salmon farms (2018) has called for improved industry standards including transparency in reporting salmon mortality figures which can involve yearly losses of up to 34% with an average around 20%. These mortality figures which have been rising in recent years are considered unacceptable by the Scottish Government.

New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS) accept 25% mortalities per production cycle despite not having the pathogenic parasites, bacteria, and viruses that the Scottish salmon farms must contend with.

NZKS have experienced losses of up to 70% at their Marlborough Sounds sites associated with the bacteria New Zealand Rickettsia like organism (NZ-RLO) & Tenacibaculum maritimum

MPI reports were critical of NZKS’s biosecurity.

The Minister for MPI used his power for the first time under S 360(A) of the RMA to overrule the Marlborough District Council plan and allow NZKS to move several of its salmon farms to sites with better water flows in areas prohibited under the MDC plan - private profit and pollution at public sites.

Fish are defined as animals under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Legislation – what other livestock industry would accept 25% mortalities per production cycle?

It is time to take stock of the recent push to expand fish farming and consider whether this industry fits with New Zealand’s “clean, green” brand.

Peter Trolove