Salmon served at Cop26 supplied by ‘environmentally-unfriendly’ US-owned fish farm

The thousands of delegates at Cop26 might just be choking on their Scottish smoked salmon. Campaigners have accused organisers of the Glasgow climate summit of serving up environmentally-unfriendly salmon supplied by a US-owned fish farm. 

Loch Duart Ltd is the only salmon farm in Scotland to receive two enforcement notices this year over its failure to control outbreaks of damaging sea lice while it also removed the term “sustainable” from its marketing literature after a ruling from the Advertising Standards Agency.

Feargal Sharkey, the singer turned rivers campaigner, tweeted to his 64,000 followers: “Oh dear, oh dear. The salmon farm used to supply Cop26  was served with not one but two enforcement notices by the Scottish government in 2021. So much for sustainability.”

The campaigning charity Salmon and Trout Conservation Trust said it was wrong for Cop26 to be offering farmed salmon and “inexcusable” to be sourcing it from Loch Duart.

In a statement issued on its website, the charity said: “Cop26 is diverging from its own published guidelines on the sourcing of food by contracting Loch Duart Ltd to supply farmed salmon for the event.”

Sourcing salmon from the company ‘inexcusable’ 

The charity said Loch Duart “tops the league of the worst performers for the control of sea lice parasites during 2021”. Its flagship salmon farm at Clashnessie Bay in north-west Sutherland is the only one to have been served an enforcement notice from the Scottish government for failure to control sea lice in the first nine months of the year.

The charity said that infestations of sea lice can have “devastating effects” on wild salmon and trout populations, adding: “Lice feed by grazing on the surface of the fish and eating the mucous and skin. Large numbers of lice soon cause the loss of fins, severe scarring, secondary infections and, in time, death. Quite literally, the fish are eaten alive.”

Andrew Graham-Stewart, the director of Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, said: “For Cop26 to serve up farmed salmon, the product of what is, in many people’s opinion, a fundamentally unsustainable industry, shows bad judgment, but to source it from a company with such poor environmental credentials is inexcusable.”

Loch Duart, which was established in 1999, insists on its website that “salmon welfare is at the heart of everything we do”. Its “small scale” farms have received celebrity backing from the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein and Raymond Blanc. 

 A Loch Duart spokesman said: “Loch Duart is proud to be on the menu at Cop26 and is facing the challenge, everyday, of climate change and rising sea temperatures. We farm in some of Scotland’s most remote areas, and know we have a responsibility to keep it pristine.”

The company said it “employs a strategy of zero tolerance on sea lice” and that it was “devastating” to discover “raised levels of this naturally occurring parasite”.

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