Scottish farmed salmon dying in droves before slaughter


Scottish farmed salmon dying in droves before slaughter

23 January 2023
Animal Equality

Animal Equality UK are raising the alarm as salmon mortality rates on Scottish salmon farms are rocketing.

Every year in the UK, up to 77 million fish are farmed and slaughtered, but many more don’t even make it to slaughter.

According to a report from industry membership body Salmon Scotland, 2.8 million farmed salmon died on-farm in Scotland in September 2022 alone. 

Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) data shows that nearly 15 million salmon mortalities were reported by farms in Scotland from January to November 2022, compared with 8.58 million in 2021 and 5.81 million in 2020.

Farmed salmon suffer from overcrowding inside cages. Others are bitten by sea lice which eat their skin while they’re alive. Animal Equality reports that instead of fixing the root cause of the issue, fish farmers use chemical treatments and other rough treatments which cause the salmon even more suffering.

Drone footage collected by Animal Equality UK shows workers using a “mort sock” to dredge dead fish from the bottom of pens.

The data doesn’t lie. It’s undeniable that early fish mortality is a rapidly worsening issue. Over recent years deaths in fish pens have reached record levels for a number of reasons, including a sharp rise in infectious diseases among the fish who are packed into unnaturally overcrowded cages, as well as poor gill health and rough treatments to remove lice from the infested waters. As the industry grows, so do these issues. We must take back the power and boycott farmed fish, it’s the only way that we can begin to curb this ever-worsening problem.
Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK

Don Staniford, of the Scamon Scotland campaign said the FHI figures on salmon deaths were likely to be an underestimate because not all mortalities need to be recorded.

About 25% of the salmon in sea cages are dying, so that’s about one in four. If ramblers saw one in four cows or sheep dead in a field they’d be horrified, but because it’s underwater it’s out of sight, out of mind.
Don Staniford, Scamon Scotland campaign