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The Loch Ness - Farmed Salmon - Monster

SCOTLAND, UK - Local wild salmon interests, including the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board and the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust, have expressed their total opposition to an application to double the size of a fish farm on Loch Ness.

According to Fish and Fly, Lighthouse Caledonia, which uses the Dores site to produce juvenile salmon, has applied to SEPA to have its maximum permitted production of fish in the loch increased from 120 tonnes per year to 240 tonnes per year.

Gordon Menzies, Chairman of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, told Fish and Fly: “This application to double the size of salmon smolt production at Dores suggests that some elements of the salmon farming industry seem happy to play Russian Roulette with wild salmon stocks."

Such an increase would inevitably amplify the risks to the genetic integrity of the Ness’s wild stocks and jeopardize the continuing initiatives to restore the runs of salmon in its rivers to their former glory.

There is a long history of escapes from the fish farms on the Ness system and any increase in tonnage is likely to exacerbate these problems. "We believe that the whole issue of the siting of freshwater smolt farms needs to be addressed. They should either be located in lochs which are not part of salmon systems or, ideally, to self-contained land-based units, as is practiced in other countries", he said.

Lighthouse Caledonia should not be producing smolts in one of our most important Highland salmon rivers at all, let alone contemplating an increase in production. The Scottish Government has a fish farm relocation initiative. Lighthouse’s operation should now be considered a matter of priority for this programme”.