Petition update

HOW YOU CAN SAVE PORPOISE, DOLPHINS AND WHALES

David & Jean Ainsley
Oban, SCT, United Kingdom

Jun 14, 2021 — 

 
If you are boating, diving, kayaking, swimming or walking near a fish farm, film the farm on the surface using an action/GoPro type camera recording the date, time and position. Keeping the camera running drop it into the water on a rope or pole and record for 2 mins. If you record a series of metallic clicks please send the recording to; addwatchcampaign@gmail.com. We will use your information to keep pressure on Marine Scotland to enforce the laws protecting porpoise, dolphins & whales. Do not take any risks, keep well outside the buoyed area of the farm.


WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE LAST PETITION UPDATE?
 
The disturbance of any porpoise, dolphin or whale (cetacean) by ADD(s) including new generation ASDs (which have been demonstrated to disturb dolphins) is illegal. But Marine Scotland, the regulators, have never enforced this law. Continuing pressure from this petition, a legal Counsel’s Opinion and Parliamentary Questions have made Marine Scotland’s position untenable.  
 
The disturbance would be legal if farms held EPS licences, no farms currently hold such licences. In 2020 Marine Scotland invited all farms using ADD(s) to apply for these licences. They can only be granted if three strict tests can all be passed.
 
One test is that there are no ‘satisfactory alternatives’ to the use of ADDs. A parliamentary question revealed that one company here uses stronger nets or double nets and does not use ADD(s). Such nets are used elsewhere in Scotland and British Columbia, where ADDs are banned, confirming that there are ‘satisfactory alternatives’ and EPS licences cannot be granted.
 
A week before the March 2021 deadline for the licencing process to be completed, all applications were withdrawn. Any fish farm currently using  unlicenced ADD(s) where they  could disturb cetaceans is highly likely to be committing an offence.

The industry issued the following statement, “The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) today (March 1st) has announced that the sector is no longer using acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) that may have been considered to cause disturbance to European Protected Species.”  This quote was repeated on BBC Radio Scotland on 9th June 2021.

In response to a new study estimating that “23% of the Inner Hebrides and Minches Harbour Porpoise Special Area of Conservation was ensonified by ADD noise exceeding levels defined for Temporary Threshold Shifts (TTS) by NMFS (2018)” the SSPO was reported in The Fish Site on the 9th June 2021 to have stated that, “There are currently no ADDs in use at Scottish fish farms but the SSPO would consider redeploying newer devices that were compliant with Marine Scotland and the US Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA),” The statement no longer appears on the site!


Considerable evidence has been gathered which proves, beyond any doubt, the ongoing use of ADDs at a number of Scottish fish farms despite the SSPO's claims to the contrary, before and after 9th June 2021 statements.


This yet again highlights the shortcomings of the Scottish Government’s approach to the regulation of salmon farming in Scotland, in this area and others. That these issues have to be policed by citizens, rather than regulators given proper resources, remit and teeth, is a national shame for Scotland. The findings do also seem to cast doubt on the wisdom of relying on self-reporting in other areas of fish farming.


Please record at fish farms if you can and also sign and share this petition. We have a new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon, and a new Environment Minister, Mairi McAllan. The many people who value our environment welcome these appointments as a signal of positive change at this time of biodiversity crisis.


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