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Press Release from the Salmon Farm Protest Group
Thursday, 22nd January 2004

Contaminated Scottish farmed salmon on trial in Europe
- Allan Berry gives oral evidence to the European Parliament´s Petitions Committee

The European Parliament will meet today (Thursday 22nd) to debate the environmental and public health disaster that is Scottish salmon farming. Allan Berry, who submitted his petition in April 2002, has been invited to attend in person and will give oral evidence to the Petitions Committee in Brussels this morning. Officials from the European Commission´s Directorate General of Fisheries (DG FISH), Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) and Environment (DG ENV) will also be in attendance.

In the wake of the damning Science study which concluded that Scottish farmed salmon was so contaminated with cancer-chemicals it was safe to eat only three times a year, public scrutiny by the European Parliament could not have come at a more embarrassing time for the Scottish Executive and the Scottish salmon farming industry. Allan Berry´s petition (518-2002) accuses the Scottish Government of gross negligence and fraud in promoting sea cage fish farming at the expense of wild salmon and Scotland’s pristine marine waters. Mr Berry’s European petition follows a petition (PE 96) he submitted to the Scottish Parliament in February 2000. PE 96 led to an ‘Aquaculture Inquiry’ by the Scottish Parliament (2001-2002) but Mr Berry’s central concerns were never addressed and he was never asked to given oral evidence.

Speaking exclusively to The Salmon Farm Monitor, Allan Berry said:

“I am delighted that the European Parliament is finally meeting to discuss my petition and only hope that the European Parliament has more success than the Scottish Parliament in placing the Scottish Executive under close public scrutiny. The UK Government clearly do not want their dirty linen washed in public but the issue of sea cage farming cannot be allowed to continue to fester in a political climate of apathy and denial. The UK government and the Scottish Executive have adopted a partisan and inappropriate approach to the whole matter of sea cage fish farming, deliberately suppressing scientific evidence, which might lead to limits on production. For twenty five years the Executive has ruthlessly promoted and protected the industry regardless of the consequences - it clearly has a great deal to hide - and has no intention of permitting public scrutiny.

“Since the advent of salmon farming in Scotland in the 1970s, sea lice larvae originating from cage farm stock have caused the virtual extinction of wild sea trout and salmon in most West coast and Island waters where salmon are farmed. Sea cage fish farming is now the largest licensed industrial polluter in Scotland. The Scottish salmon farming industry uses our coastal waters as an open sewer, discharging annually nearly eight thousand tonnes of nitrogen as waste ammonia ; equivalent to the sewage wastes of 9 million people (Scotland's population is only 5.1 million). In the case of sea cage fish farming in Scotland, the Executive has deliberately concealed, misrepresented and denied the effects of such abuse, while using the power of the state to pervert proper scientific assessment of industry impact. Let us hope the deliberations of the Petition Committee will result in proper objective scientific examination of the adverse effects of sea cage fish farming. The European Parliament has one last opportunity to save Scotland’s wild salmon from extinction and to put an end to salmon farmers’ free use of the our once pristine coastal waters as an open sewer”

For further information please contact Don Staniford on 00 34 952 49 49 16 or Allan Berry in Brussels on 00 44 7754 150 194

Notes to Editors:

(1) Further information including a photo of Allan Berry and the full text of his petition is available on The Salmon Farm Monitor: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

Further information on the Petitions Committee can be found on:

The clerk to the Petitions Committee, David Lowe, is on 00 32 2284 2396