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Top Chefs urged to examine environmental record of farmed salmon

Top Chefs urged to examine environmental record of farmed salmon

Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) have written to some of the UK’s top chefs asking them to reconsider their endorsements and use of Loch Duart Ltd. Chefs including Raymond Blanc, Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay have all been urged to examine the environmental record of the company in the context of their use of farmed salmon by the company as well as their endorsements of the Loch Duart products.

Using information gathered by Fish Health Inspectorate, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Marine Scotland, S&TCS say they have examined the environmental record of Loch Duart Ltd’s farms in the north-West Highlands of Scotland. Records from SEPA (2013-15) show extensive use of chemical treatments and high mortality numbers due to, in part, sea lice infestation and what S&TCS say “appears to be the movement of already liced farmed fish between farms (contrary to best practice).”

This investigation would seem to contrast the endorsements given by the chefs;

  • “I have used Loch Duart salmon for many years, because I believe they are the gold standard in fish farming.” – Raymond Blanc

and

  • “I like to use quality Scottish salmon fed on as natural a diet as possible. I get this from Loch Duart.” – Gordon Ramsay.

Records show that in terms of sea-lice control, Loch Duart Ltd’s farms in the north-west Highlands were “collectively above, often very significantly above, the industry’s threshold (based on the number of adult female lice per farmed fish) in no less than 31 out of the last 33 reported months.”

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TCS, commented: “We want Britain’s leading chefs to examine Loch Duart’s record for themselves and reconsider endorsing publicly salmon produced by a company with such a poor environmental record of sea-lice control. Loch Duart Ltd may aim ‘to lead the way in environmental stewardship’, but we would ask these top chefs to look at the record for themselves.”

“Between 2013 and 2015, it has only been when the biomass of farmed fish held across all Loch Duart’s sites in the north-west Highlands dropped below 600 tonnes, that the industry’s lice thresholds were achieved collectively across all those farms. Otherwise it appears that the company has not been able to keep sea lice within acceptable levels. Consequently there can be little doubt that some or all of Loch Duart’s farms have been releasing huge numbers of juvenile sea lice into the surrounding sea loch environments with serious implications for local wild salmon and sea trout populations.

“Loch Duart makes much of its green credentials. However its sea-lice record leaves much to be desired and its customers need to appreciate what the real record shows. We have formally written to Messrs Ramsay, Blanc and Stein suggesting that, in light of what the S&TCS has shown, they might consider whether their endorsement of Loch Duart should continue.”

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