Protest group criticises Soil Association over salmon standard move
18 August, 2006 -
CHAIRMAN of the Salmon Farm Protest Group, Bruce Sandison has criticised the Soil Association for awarding full organic status to the farmed salmon it certifies. Commenting on the decision, Mr Sandison said: “In my view this is complete nonsense. There is nothing ‘natural’ about salmon farming. From start to finish the farming of salmon is an artificial process." "The eggs and sperm used to produce farmed salmon are artificially stripped from captive brood-stock salmon. The fertilised eggs are artificially hatched and the progeny artificially reared. They are transported to sea in tubs on the backs of lorries or by boats designed for the purpose, or in containers slung from helicopters. "In the sea their growth rate can be artificially enhanced to such a degree that ordinary factory-farmed farm salmon might reach slaughter weight in less that two years; so-called organic salmon can live longer before slaughter, about two and a half to three years. "At slaughter, farmed fish weigh approximately 5lb/6lb. A wild salmon of the same age weighs only a few ounces and is still living in the river where it was born." He continued: "It is sad that the Soil Association has allowed itself to be drawn into the fetid waters of salmon farming. The only ‘dereliction of duty’ I think I see here is that the public might be persuaded that buying Soil Association certified organic factory-farmed salmon, rather than ordinary farm salmon, will somehow mitigate the disastrous impact this dirty business is having upon Scotland's environment and its wild salmon." Responding to the criticism, Hugh Raven, Director of the Soil Association said: "Bruce Sandison's extraordinary comments show just how out of touch he is with reality. He clearly hasn't read our standards. No other certifier has standards with anything like the rigour of the Soil Association's - on sustainability of feed, farm siting, stocking densities, and salmon welfare. This is farming - these fish aren't wild. Our organic fish standards respect the same principles as all Soil Association standards - and justify exactly the same level of consumer trust." www.fishfarmer-magazine.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publishes FISHupdate.com, FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.