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November 1, 2017

A nest of vipers

In the last edition, we highlighted the crisis at the heart of Scotland’s fish farming industry and the threat of ecological collapse in our seas that it poses. Those communities that have managed to get themselves organised in order to oppose what is happening on their doorstep, are now being confronted by some highly aggressive and cynical tactics by the industry. A whistle blower has leaked some internal documents which reveal the extent of industry plans to subvert local interests. When is Scottish Government going to step in?


The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture

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”.  

“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.”    

“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.”

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.  

“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.”  

“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.”