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BBC Scotland's David Currie reports
"Inadequate regulation of fish farming is undernmining the quality of Scotland's environment"
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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Fresh call for fish farming inquiry
Freshly caught salmon
Calls for parliamentary inquiry renewed
Environmental groups have renewed their calls for a public inquiry into fish farming in Scotland.

They have called on the Scottish Parliament's Transport and Environment Commitee to launch an investigation into the future of the industry and its possible effects on the environment.

Environmental pressure groups last week warned that stocks of Scottish wild salmon were under threat from commercially bred salmon.

Fish farm workers
Concern over wild fish stocks
They said fish escaping from farms were spreading disease and causing genetic changes in the wild salmon population.

The umbrella group Scottish Environmental Link said that inadequate regulation of fish farming was undermining the quality of Scotland's environment and the industry's future prospects.

The organisation asserted that while salmon farming production has increased four-fold since the end of the 1980s, the number of people employed in the industry has fallen with foreign companies now accounting for 70% of production.

It was due to tell the committee on Tuesday that an inquiry would lay the foundations for sustainable management of the industry and minimise its environmental impact.

Warnings have been issued in the past by experts concerned about the potential effects of salmon farming.

Professor David Mackay, of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, told a conference in Norway last year that intensive farming was distorting natural eco-systems.

The Sepa northern regional director also said evidence that sea lice from the caged fish were harming wild stocks was beyond reasonable doubt.

However, the Scottish Salmon Growers' Association strenuously denied the allegations.

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Salmon farmers win compensation
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