Big fish farms not necessarily most polluting
Aquaculture industry urged to look at location and management techniques to reduce the environmental impact of rapidly expanding sector
Bigger fish farms do not necessarily have a greater impact on their surrounding marine ecosystems, according to an analysis of Scottish fish farms.
Researchers from Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen studied data from 50 salmon and cod farms collected by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Contrary to popular belief, they found that location rather than the size of the fish farm was a more significant factor in predicting its environmental impact.
The aquaculture industry has trebled in size since 1995, with half of all fish eaten now farm-reared. Scotland has seen rapid growth since the 1980s and now has around 450 licensed farms, almost all producing salmon.
However, the rapid spread of fish farming around the world has led to concern about its negative impact on marine ecosystems as well as problems including disease, mixing of wild and farmed stocks and chemical use.