Two UK angling organisations have written to Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Science (CEFAS) to express their concerns over a draft proposal to farm rainbow trout off the shores of southwest England. The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA), the Angling Trust and Fish Legal feel that there is a significant risk of damage to wild fisheries and recreational angling from the following issues: infestations of sea lice, escapes of farmed fish into the water environment, fish escapes from cages (during storms), with farmed trout swimming up local rivers and waste food, pesticides and fish faeces causing pollution, which would have a significant impact on the local ecosystem around open cage farms.
In 2013 the South West Rivers Association (SWRA) contacted CEFAS to express its concerns about the proposals, but they have apparently been ignored, with CEFAS promoting the project enthusiastically in the southwest.
“Our freshwater and sea angling members in the southwest of England are very concerned about these proposals," explained Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal. “It seems absolutely barmy to try to farm fish offshore, especially given the storms of last winter. Nearly all fish farms lose fish – even in the relatively benign environment of Scottish lochs.
“Marine and freshwater fish populations already face a host of other threats from pollution, abstraction, commercial exploitation and barriers to migration, about which CEFAS is well aware. The last thing they need is another risk from sea lice infestation, escapee rainbow trout and pollution,” he added.
“I have over 40 years of experience of Cornwall’s salmonid and sea fisheries and know that salmon and sea trout migrate through and feed in these waters,” added Roger Furniss, Secretary of South West Rivers Association. Development of artificial salmonid aquaculture in them poses an unacceptable risk to these important fisheries.”