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Diseased fish dumping continues

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 05 7:24 am    Post subject: Diseased fish dumping continues Reply with quote

Hi all, its been a while since i posted, anyway, as you know the dumping of diseased fish on the Hebrides has been a topic i have been following - and not best pleased about below is an article from Bruce Sandison - [url]salmonfarmmonitor.org [/url]
As a point of interest the crofter concerned, advertises 'organic produce' hmmmmmmmmmmm, would you buy your 'organic produce form this man - his nickname locally is 20:10:10, after the nitrate he uses on his 'organic croft



As we reported in May, the SFPG has been unable to obtain information from the Scottish Executive’s (SE) Fisheries Research Services (FRS) about what is really happening on Marine Harvest fish farm sites in South Uist; particularly at the site at Loch Sheilavaig where the salmon-killer disease ISA (infectious salmon anaemia) was suspected: how many fish died there, what did they die of, which freshwater hatchery supplied the fish that became diseased, how many diseased fish escaped from the site during last January’s storms.

The reason given by the FRS for withholding this information, which FRS admit they have, is that Marine Harvest refused to give permission for the release of details to the SFPG, and, as such, FRS could not then legally divulge that information to us.

The SE announced in November that there was a suspected outbreak of ISA at the Loch Sheilavaig site and that a movement control order had been imposed and controls placed upon nearby farms in Benbecula and North Uist. The Loch Sheilavaig controls were lifted on 19th May when the SE said there was no “continuing evidence” of the disease.

Lewis Macdonald, Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development said: “Prompt action by companies in co-operation with the Fisheries Research Service’s Health Inspectors is critical to preventing any possibility of disease spreading. It is because Marine Harvest responded in this way that we are today able to lift these restrictions.”

So how did the fish die? FRS inspectors reported (10th November) that fish in one cage (at Loch Sheilavaig) were behaving abnormally, “congregating at the surface”, that the majority of fish had “high sea lice load”, that one fish, “which had been dead for a considerable period of time, had a dark liver.” However, in response to written questions from the Scottish Green Party, the Lewis Macdonald would say only that ISA had not been found at the site.

But dead fish are still being removed from a Marine Harvest site in South Uist and there has been no SE announcement, at least none that the SFPG has seen, imposing new restriction orders on any fish farm site in the area.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), under the Environmental Information Act, supplied SPFG with some detail about how dead fish were being disposed of near Kyles- paible in North Uist, but that information appears to contradict reports received by SFPG about the location, use and operation of the site.

Jamie Hepburn, SEPA Environment Protection Officer, in a letter (7th December 04) to David Fraser of FRS, identified the burial site as being at Gd Reference 750670, but according to the planning approval issued by Western Isles Council, the site is in fact about half a mile further west at Gd Reference 737664.

Stuart Baird, also of SEPA, reported to David Fraser on 7th December 04 that SEPA had made “…an assessment of the site that is being utilised to bury fish at Bornish, North Uist.” But Bornish is in South Uist, not North Uist?

Jamie Hepburn visited the site on 14th December, accompanied by Hazel MacLeod and Matt Macdonald. Which site they visited is not clear; the one he identified, or the one identified by Western Isles Council? Hepburn said: “The area is now taking fish waste from ISA sites on East Uist.” SEPA thus confirm that ISA was present, but the Minister denies ISA was found.

In a further letter dated 17th December, Mr Hepburn wrote: “The designated area is fenced and has access from the beach via a gate. There is a disinfectant procedure inside the gate. There was no evidence of any liquid escape or impact on the beach or surrounding area, there was no evidence of smell at the site. The site had numbered markers for each burial area and there is seaweed being spread over these areas where burial is complete.

“The active area has a ground net to prevent scavenging by birds. I am aware that the recent fish culls at a number of fish farms has lead to increased activity at the site but found no sign of any impact on the beach or machair. I was shown records that are being kept. They record each delivery, their site of origin and area of burial. Generally the site operation is satisfactory and I have no concerns regarding impact or pollution.”

To try to find out what was really happening, SFPG Chairman Bruce Sandison visited North and South Uist from 31st May to 3rd June. He revels here the result of that visit and in doing so exposes a tale of mismanagement, intimidation and regulatory failure that implicates the Scottish Executive, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Western Isles Council and Scottish Natural Heritage; neither does it reflect credit on Marine Harvest or upon dump-site-operator Angus MacDonald, who dispose of dead fish in this way.. The SFPG is now seeking full disclosure of all information pertaining to these matters.

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