Ocean Rebellion protest with dead fish to highlight ‘tragedy’ of salmon industry

Dressed in pinstripe suits, campaigners also made a last minute plea to SNP conference delegates and leaders to end the “war” on wild fish.

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Campaigners have staged a protest at the Scottish Parliament blindfolded and gagged with dead fish to highlight the “environmental tragedy” of salmon fishing.

The Ocean Rebellion activists staged the action in the pools outside Holyrood, carrying briefcases with “War on wild fish”, “farmed salmon” and “dirty money” emblazoned on them, in a bid to highlight the “deliberate blindness” of the Scottish Government.

Dressed in pinstripe suits, campaigners also made a last minute plea to SNP conference delegates and leaders to end the “war” on wild fish.

But Salmon Scotland, the voice of Scottish farmed salmon, said its dedicated farmers are passionate about animal welfare and the marine environment.

A spokesperson said: “Unlike the three anti-salmon activists in fancy dress, most people are proud of Scottish salmon – the country’s most popular fish and biggest food export.

“Scotland’s world-renowned salmon sector supports more than 12,000 well-paid, long-term jobs, many in remote areas where the farms are an integral part of community life, and is worth a staggering £750 million to the Scottish economy.

“Our dedicated farmers are passionate about animal welfare and the marine environment, and are proud to work in a sector which has an incredibly low carbon footprint and meets the highest environmental standards.”

Suited performers from Ocean Rebellion, wearing blindfolds and gagged with dead fish, protest at Holyrood Pond, outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, calling on Scottish Government to wind down the environmental tragedy of salmon farming with a just transition for workers. Picture date: Friday October 7, 2022.
Suited performers from Ocean Rebellion, wearing blindfolds and gagged with dead fish, protest at Holyrood Pond, outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, calling on Scottish Government to wind down the environmental tragedy of salmon farming with a just transition for workers. Picture date: Friday October 7, 2022.

Caitlin Macleod, from Ocean Rebellion, claimed the Scottish Government’s approach to the coastline and sea life is an “ecological disaster”.

She added: “It has ignored the Scottish Parliament which formally called for a halt to expansion until the problems are addressed, and at the demand of its cronies in offshore companies, is planning to double the size of the disgusting salmon industry within eight years.

“We need a revolution in Scottish marine politics, with protection and participation replacing Scottish Government-sponsored corporate pillage.”

Ocean Rebellion says the Scottish Parliament had demanded that “urgent and meaningful action” should be taken to address problems with regulations as well as fish health and environmental issues before the industry can expand, and accused the Government of refusing to act on the warnings.

The group has called for a halt to caged salmon fishing in Scotland.

Suited performers from Ocean Rebellion, wearing blindfolds and gagged with dead fish, protest at Holyrood Pond, outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, calling on Scottish Government to wind down the environmental tragedy of salmon farming with a just transition for workers. Picture date: Friday October 7, 2022.
Suited performers from Ocean Rebellion, wearing blindfolds and gagged with dead fish, protest at Holyrood Pond, outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, calling on Scottish Government to wind down the environmental tragedy of salmon farming with a just transition for workers. Picture date: Friday October 7, 2022.

The group claims whales, dolphins and porpoises are “unlawfully” disturbed with alarms designed to startle seals, and the salmon industry dumps harmful chemicals into Scotland’s marine environment.

Salmon Scotland said the acoustic deterrent devices are not used at any salmon farm in Scotland and the industry “meets the highest environmental standards”.

Ocean Rebellion’s Roc Sandford said: “Scotland is a beautiful, proud country. Our destruction of the environmental heritage on which so many of our jobs depend will ruin this for future generations.

“I don’t want to see more dead zones caused by salmon farming – it’s time to throw these profiteering corporations out of our magnificent waters.”

Salmon Scotland added: “Just this week the Scottish Government recognised the immense contribution of Scottish salmon to the blue economy, and the UN promotes aquaculture as a way to feed a growing global population and meet its sustainable development goals.”

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.