In response to The Courier article “Future salmon stocks at risk, says top angler”, 22nd February 2017
While Arnot McWhinnie may have pleased the gathering with his speech at the presentation of the Redford Trophy (Plea by top angler to do more to conserve wild salmon – 22 February) it is a shame that many of his assertions about the salmon farming industry were completely wrong.
For the record, Scotland has some of the highest fish health status of any salmon farming country in the world because of the stringent voluntary Code of Good Practice and statutory regulation.
International companies invest in Scotland, bringing much valued jobs, community support and economic benefits for many other businesses in rural areas, because the reputation of salmon reared in Scotland is recognised and in demand in over 60 countries.
It seems, according to Mr McWhinnie, that seals, dolphins and other predators only eat wild salmon on the east coast but stop short of doing the same on the west coast. Clever animals. In fact, this is completely untrue and farmed salmon are just as tasty for seals on the west coast.
He may feel aggrieved that the Scottish Government is not supporting his sector as he would like, but that is entirely a matter for wild fisheries and Government, not an opportunity to make ill-informed comments about salmon farming. Salmon farming is an economic and social lifeline for many remote, rural communities, a sophisticated and modern food industry which takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and happens to be Scotland’s number one food export.