Porpoises, dolphins and whales are being driven from feeding grounds and can be deafened by Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) used by salmon farms. These mammals echolocate to find food, and if deafened will starve.
Most Scottish farms use cheap single nets. Dead fish accumulate and tempt seals to bite salmon through the net. 121 of 172 farms use ADDs (outputting over 179 decibels) to deter seals, but because ADDs are not very effective, farmers using ADDs also shoot seals.
There are alternatives: Marine Harvest use ADDs and shoot seals in Scotland, however in British Columbia, where ADDs and seal shooting are banned, the same company uses double-skinned anti-predator nets (ref.1), which also solve the problem of escapes.
In 2019, Marine Harvest is predicted to have a net profit of over 1 billion euros (ref. 2). They can afford to fit double-skinned anti-predator nets.
Farms which use ADDs are breaking the law prohibiting “deliberate or reckless disturbance or injury to any porpoise, dolphin or whale”. Scottish Natural Heritage have advised (ref.3) that ADDs cause disturbance and can cause hearing damage and stress, but the regulators, Marine Scotland, have not yet enforced the law.
We call on Roseanna Cunningham to:
- Enforce existing laws protecting porpoise, dolphins and whales and ban all ADDs by January 2020.
- Honour her pledge not to “roll back our hard-won environmental protections after Brexit” by refusing to allow the laws protecting marine mammals to be weakened.
- Insist on independent, peer-reviewed scientific investigations, overseen by a stakeholder committee, including tourism and coastal community members if an ADD is claimed not to disturb or injure any porpoise, dolphin or whale.
- Refuse to issue a seal shooting license after January 2020 unless a farm has double-skinned anti-predator nets. Farms not using the best technology are not complying with the licensing condition to only shoot seals "as a last resort”.
David & Jean Ainsley run a wildlife tourism boat. We have lodged a Complaint to Europe (ref.4) calling for our laws protecting marine mammals to be enforced. It is supported by 41 groups and charities representing wildlife, tourism, and coastal communities (ref.5).
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