Scotland's Secrets

FishyLeaks, 8 January 2013

Whistleblower at Scottish Salmon:

The Company Who Kicked the Viper’s Nest

Leaked internal emails from a whistleblower inside the Scottish Salmon Company reveal the utter contempt foreign-owned salmon farming companies have for local communities in the Western Isles of Scotland.  

Read the leaked emails from the Scottish Salmon Company in full online here and a media backgrounder in full online here

“Let the locals get used to it” is the privately held view of a company publicly listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange, registered in Jersey and owned by a who’s who of Swiss and Norwegian banks and investors (over 85% of Scottish salmon farming production is now controlled by foreign - mostly Norwegian – interests exported to overseas markets such as China).      
 
One community on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides is disparaged by the Scottish Salmon Company’s ‘Environmental Manager’ Rebecca Dean as a “vipers nest” despite a company policy which advocates “building strong relationships with the community”.   

 SSC vipers nest

“Yes, there is a biomass strategy target, and I am well aware of it and we will max out what we can, where we can,” writes Rebecca Dean.  “But Plocrapol is a guaranteed vipers nest, with the huge delays that will create, and the demands on Council (and The Scottish Salmon Company) time, could be better spent on other sites that may be less oppositional (couldn't get much worse than Ploc...well, there is always Arran of course...or Toa, but).”
 
“Let’s spend the energy fighting those battles, and filling the Council’s time,” writes the Scottish Salmon Company’s ‘Environmental Manager’ who recommends focussing on expansion in the Uists.  “We might as well try avoid, for now at least, the ones we are certain will be lengthy, tiring, negative PR battles.”    
 

SSC Vipers Nest email #1 Rebecca Dean

 
“I absolutely agree we look where there is less chance of time consuming opposition,” replies the Scottish Salmon Company’s CEO Stewart McLelland who admits expansion at their disease-ridden Isle of Arran farm at Lamlash Bay is “difficult”.  “This way we ensure we get the good publicity and demonstrate the advantages of working together,” he writes.  “What we need to do is have a session just on the Hebrides to discuss strategy then tactics.” 
 

SSC Vipers Nest email #2 Stewart McLelland


With these leaked internal documents published via FishyLeaks and the prospect of further revelations, the Scottish Salmon Company’s policy of avoiding what it refers to as “angst” and “hoo-haa” has now come back to bite it on the corporate ass.   
 
Snake bite
“The Scottish Salmon Company is a venomous snake in the grass,” said Don Staniford of the Global Aquaculture Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture who received the leaked documents anonymously in the mail.  “Thanks to this brave whistleblower the Scottish public can now see the poisonous bile being spewed by this shameless Swiss/Norwegian-owned company.  Local communities across the Highlands and Islands are now fighting back against the deadly diseases and PR poison being peddled by the foreign-owned salmon farming companies choking the lifeblood out of the Scottish coast.”   
 

Snake in grass

 

“Don’t be fooled by the oily handshakes of corporate Fish Farming PR,” urged the Outer Hebrides Against Fish Farms in November 2012.  “Get the facts from independent sources…but remember a lot of the facts that shame this industry are hidden behind government supported nets of secrecy.”


Read the leaked emails from the Scottish Salmon Company in full online here and a media backgrounder in full online here
 
Contact:  Don Staniford: 07771 541826


FishyLeaks, 11 September 2012

Scottish Salmon’s Toxic Toilets Named & Shamed!
- Twelve-Fold Increase in Chemical Use Since 2005

 
Read press release in full online here

The use of toxic chemicals on Scottish salmon farms more than doubled between 2008 and 2011 and has increased twelve-fold since 2005. 

Read exclusively in today’s Guardian newspaper via “Scottish fish farmers use record amounts of parasite pesticides” and “Chemicals to control salmon parasites”.

According to data obtained via Freedom of Information from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the ‘Filthy Five’ users of toxic chemicals were Marine Harvest, Scottish Salmon Company (Lighthouse Caledonia), Scottish Sea Farms (Leroy/SalMar), Hjaltland Seafarms (Grieg) and Loch Duart.  The ‘Dirty Dozen’ sites using Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron are named for the first time – including Special Areas of Conservation such as Loch Roag and Loch Laxford.    
 
Chemical resistance means that a cocktail of five toxic pesticides are now used to kill Scotland’s plague of ‘super-lice’.  Almost twice every day for the last four years (2008-2011), chemicals known to be lethal to lobsters and other shellfish were used on salmon farms in Scotland.  Chemicals were used 2,756 times including Emamectin (1,028); Deltamethrin (914); Azamethiphos (487); Cypermethrin (315) and Teflubenzuron (12).
 
Read in full via ‘Dossier of Chemical Use on Scottish Salmon Farms 2008-2011
 
The news comes in the wake of a Veterinary Residues Committee report detailing contamination in Scottish farmed salmon with the toxic pesticide Emamectin.  In June, officers from Marine Scotland were charged with carrying out a follow up investigation.  Data obtained via FOI reveals that since 2005 Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms, Skelda Salmon and the Scottish Salmon Company have all been involved in contamination cases.  
 
“The Scottish Government has sanctioned the use of Scotland’s coastal waters as a dumping ground for the chemical wastes of Norwegian and Polish corporations,” said Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA).  “Scotland’s toxic salmon farms are now infested with resistant ‘super-lice’ and contaminated with chemicals.  The drugs don’t work – just say no to chemically embalmed Scottish farmed salmon.”

For more information read the 'Media Backgrounder: Chemical Culture in Scotland'

Read press release in full online here

Tuesday 17 July 2012

FishyLeaks: Scotland’s Secrets Exposed!
- Leaked Report Reveals ‘Data Cleansing’ of Diseased Salmon Farming

A leaked report reveals that the Scottish Government is preparing a public relations offensive to clean up the poor image of Scotland’s foreign-owned salmon farming industry.  According to the Marine Strategy Forum report, ‘Scotland’s Aquaculture Database’ will be officially launched publicly at the end of July as a “proactive” weapon in the PR war.  As a pre-emptive strike, 'FishyLeaks' today published ‘dirty data’ on diseases, toxic chemicals and mortalities sourced via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from Marine Scotland and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).  
 
Marine Scotland has been ‘data cleansing’ and ‘cleansing data’ for over two years in a project with the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation and SEPA.  At a meeting on 15th June, the Marine Strategy Forum met privately to discuss a communications strategy which includes “material for inclusion in Schools pack”, “targeted preparatory presentations” and a “proposed Ministerial Press Notice”.   “The database/website allows the opportunity effectively to publish, on a proactive basis, a lot of information that would be releasable under Freedom of Information and Environmental Information legislation,” noted the Marine Strategy Forum [1]. 
 
“The proposal for a database, bringing together information from a variety of partner bodies, was made around two and a half years ago by the then head of the Marine Scotland Aquaculture Unit,” stated the leaked report.  “Since then, a great deal of work has been done in developing the proposal, comparing and cleansing data, designing the website etc.”  “Policy, data cleansing/sharing arrangements and database and website development have now been taken to the stage where.....the database/website will be rolled out to partner bodies later in July; we aim to launch it publicly at the end of July,” continued the report [2]. 
 
“This ham-fisted attempt to greenwash the Scottish salmon farming industry is hogwash,” said Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture.  “Thanks to FishyLeaks the public can now see for themselves the disease-ridden and lethal nature of Scotland’s filthy feedlots.  All the ‘data cleansing’ in the world does not alter the fact that salmon farming is a dirty rotten industry.  Even cleaning queens Kim and Aggie cannot clean crap off crap!”
 
FishyLeaks reveals: 
 
- A 'mort mountain' of nearly 7 million farmed salmon in 2011 with over 2 million morts in the first three months of 2012 
 
- 700,000 morts in Orkney alone during March 2012 with 194,905 at one site (Bay of Vady) operated by Meridian
 
- Over a quarter of a million farmed salmon (267,114) with a weight of 291,056 kg died during October 2011 at the Scottish Salmon Company’s site at St. Molios on the Isle of Arran
 
- Infectious diseases including: Infectious Salmon Anaemia, Ichthyobodo, Vibrio, Cardiomyopathy, Moritella vicosa, Yersinia ruckeri, Epitheliocystis, Salmonid alphavirus, Nephrocalcinosis, Tenacibaculum maritumum, Exophiala, Pasteurella skyensis, Nocardia, Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium, Gyrodactylus derjavinoides and Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis
 
- The use of the toxic chemicals Deltamethrin, Azamethiphos, Teflubenzuron and Emamectin benzoate by companies including Marine Harvest, Hjaltland (Grieg), Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Seafarms and Loch Duart  

The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) filed a FOI request on 1st July demanding access to all the documents relating to ‘Scotland’s Aquaculture Database’ as well as any data that has been deleted.  SEPA and Marine Scotland are now seeking to narrow down the scope of the FOI request.  “There is no database cleansing as part of the Aquaculture Database project, if by that is meant changes to or transformation of data, either at source or in the Aquaculture Database, for the purposes of the project,” wrote SEPA on 12th July (read the letter in full online here).    
 
Earlier this month, The Sunday Herald revealed that salmon farming companies are refusing to send vital data to Scottish Government scientists, to avoid it being released under FOI law.  In one email made available to journalist Rob Edwards, Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest said that releasing the information “could result in misrepresentation of the facts which would of course be damaging to our commercial interests as a company.”  “It seems odd to go about deliberately destroying valuable and possibly contentious biological data, unless you were worried about having to disclose it under freedom of information,” said solicitor Guy Linley-Adams of the Salmon & Trout Association.   
 
Shocking data obtained by GAAIA via FOI in June also revealed that salmon farming companies have killed over 300 seals in Scotland alone since the start of 2011.  ‘Farmed Salmon Exposed’ and The Salmon Farm Protest Group have also published damning data on toxic chemicals, diseases, escapes and mortalities.  A WWF Report – “Scotland’s Secret?” – also lifted the lid on the full extent of nutrient pollution from salmon farms in Scotland. 
 
“The salmon farming industry is Scotland’s dirty little secret,” continued Staniford (an award-winning campaigner and author).  “Instead of cleaning up the image of this foreign-owned industry, the Scottish Government should be cleaning up chemical pollution, infectious diseases and dead seals.  That the Government is now gearing up to launch a PR campaign targeting impressionable schoolchildren is scraping the bottom of the barrel and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth just like Scotland’s Norwegian-flavoured farmed salmon.” 
 
Following a trade junket to Norway in May (when Marine Harvest announced a £80 million five-year plan for Scottish expansion), Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond shamefully described the predominantly Norwegian-owned salmon farming industry as “the essence of Scotland”.   Last year, Scotland signed a trade deal with China signalling a “recklessly irresponsible” doubling of Scottish farmed salmon production.  Meanwhile, China has imposed restrictions on Norwegian farmed salmon which are “rotting in Chinese warehouses”.      
 
Read more via "FishyLeaks"

 
Contact:
 
Don Staniford: dstaniford@gaaia.org and salmonfarmingkills@gmail.com (please email to arrange a phone interview)

Notes to Editors
 
[1] A June 2012 briefing document - ‘Scotland’s Aquaculture Database’ (MSF 85/2012) - from Scotland’s ‘Marine Strategy Forum’ was leaked to GAAIA.  Read the document in full online here
 
[2]  According to Wikipedia: “Data cleansing, data cleaning, or data scrubbing is the process of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database.  Used mainly in databases, the term refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate, irrelevant, etc. parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting this dirty data.” 

Read press coverage on the above via:

"Holyrood denies greenwash over salmon deaths" (Shetland News, 31 July)

"Meridian counters Staniford's claims" (Fish News EU, 18 July)

"Activist launches fresh salmon offensive" (Fish News EU, 18 July)

"Fish farm deaths predicted to rise" (The Herald, 17 July)