The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) echoed Save Our Seals Fund's call for a ban on exports of farmed salmon to China. Read more via today's Press & Journal: "Call for ban on salmon to China"
The call comes as Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE), in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI) and the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), host a "Doing Business in China" seminar today (5 March) in Inverness.
The Observer reported in February 2011: "A new trade agreement was signed last month with the Chinese vice-premier, Li Keqiang, by Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, who boasted that "even if 1% of the people of China decide to eat Scottish salmon, then we'll have to double production in Scotland". Since then, the floodgates have been opened by Scottish Ministers who plan to increase salmon farming production in Scotland by 50% by 2020.
Data obtained via Freedom of Information (FOI) from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in February 2014 reveals that exports of Scottish farmed salmon to China were 9,216 tonnes in 2013 (data up to November) representing a value of £47,797,000 compared to only 111 tonnes and £331,000 in 2010. The increase from 2010 to 2013 (not including data for December 2013) is a staggering 8,203% by weight and 14,340% by value.
With exports in December expected to be much higher than previous months due to the Christmas market, total exports in 2013 are likely to be over 10,000 tonnes and over £50 million in value. In the context of total exports of farmed Scottish salmon, the Chinese component is approaching 10% - here's export data up to November 2013.
Delegates at today's "Doing Business in China" seminar will hear first-hand experience from Madeleine Clark, Key Account Manager for Norwegian salmon farming giant Marine Harvest, which has been trading in China since 2010. “We recognise that China represents a key market for Scottish salmon," she said in a press release. "Our exports have grown by 20% since 2011 and we are anticipating a further 10% growth year on year. China is a very interesting and exciting market and there are many more opportunities out there for Scottish companies."
"Scottish farmed salmon leaves a nasty taste in the mouth even without the stench of human rights abuses in China and shameless Norwegian profiteering," said Don Staniford, Director of GAAIA. "Scotland's iconic wild Atlantic salmon and precious marine environment must not be sacrificed at the altar of increasing exports to China to line the coffers of foreign multinationals. How long will the Scottish Government allow Norwegian companies to use Scotland as a back door to enter a Chinese market slammed shut in their face back in 2010?"
In 2010, the Norwegian Noble Committee (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament) awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China". A Scottish Parliamentary Reply answered in September 2013 stated that "Norwegian-owned companies are responsible for around 66 per cent of farmed salmon production in Scotland".
In January 2014, Save Our Seals Fund wrote to the Chinese Consul in Edinburgh. "We believe that Norwegian owned salmon farms in Scotland are playing a very clever game and are getting around your import ban on Norwegian salmon by exporting to China salmon bred in Norway and then grown on in their Scottish farms," stated the letter from John Robins. "While dismayed at your record on human rights we do ask you to consider banning the import of salmon from Norwegian owned salmon farms in Scotland. Scottish Government Ministers are acting like middlemen in an international scam. They are encouraging China to buy tartan tinted salmon from Norwegian owned farms based in Scotland."
Fish Update reported in August 2013:
In 2011, The Independent newspaper reported: "The Chinese imposed additional import controls on Norwegian salmon last year in apparent retribution for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo to the Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. The result has been a collapse in sales of salmon to China, and the sight and smell of North Sea fish rotting in Chinese warehouses. The Norwegian Foreign Office said overall trade with China had grown by 46 per cent over the past six months. But sales of fresh salmon, meanwhile, have collapsed 61.8 per cent....... Marine Harvest, a vast Norwegian salmon farmer with operations worldwide, has switched to exporting Scottish salmon – with no problems." (read more via "Norway's salmon rot as China takes revenge for dissident's Nobel Prize").
In December 2013, John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line stated in a press release: "For political reasons Norway cannot sell salmon direct to China. However two-thirds of the floating factory salmon farms in Scotland are owned by Norwegian companies. Their solution is simple – sell their Scottish farmed fish in China and their Norwegian farmed fish in Scotland. The Scottish marine environment and the creatures which inhabit that environment are being sacrificed by the Scottish Government to allow Norwegian companies to increase their profits by getting around the Chinese ban on their salmon".
In a letter (30 December) to the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism (Fergus Ewing), John Robins wrote:
"I write concerning a serious trading anomaly which increases my misgivings on the integrity of the Scottish salmon farming industry. As you are no doubt aware in 2010 Norway gave the Noble Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. As a result China stopped importing salmon from Norway and started buying from Scotland instead. This is despite the fact that around a third of Scottish salmon farms are Norwegian owned and tens of millions of salmon ova are exported from Norway to Scotland where they are grown on and presumably then sold to China as Scottish salmon."
Read more background on Chinese/Norwegian/Scottish farmed salmon via:
“Scotland’s wild salmon face ‘calamity’ from trade deal with China:Deadly parasites found in fish farms will pose greater risk to wild fish if production soars because of Chinese deal, conservationists warn”
“Scottish salmon farmers set to clean up after China’s Nobel dispute with Norway: China’s dispute with Norway over the awarding of the Nobel prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo has produced an unlikely winner – the Scottish salmon”
Read press release in full online here