THE LAWYER behind the recent high-profile success of Fish Legal in campaigning against fish farm escapes and Scottish Water pollution incidents has been hired by the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) to lobby the Government and politicians in the on-going battle for sustainable aquaculture.

In a clear signal that salmon conservationists intend to intensify their war against the salmon farming companies, Guy Linley-Adams, formerly head of legal at the former Anglers’ Co-operative Association (now Fish Legal), will be the first campaigner dedicated to pressurising the aquaculture industry to adopt much more environmentally sustainable practices.

Guy Linley-Adams, S&TA lobbyist

Linley-Adams is a solicitor, qualified in both Scotland and England and Wales, whose biography reveals in individual well-practised in campaigning for conservation bodies in their wide-ranging battles against authority.

The S&TA is the UK’s leading game conservation charity which, with others, has been mounting an increasingly belligerent war against the multi-million pound aquaculture industry. This spring in a report entitled 2010: Year Zero for Wild Scottish Salmon? it claimed to have amassed scientific evidence of “a devastating catalogue of malpractice” in the way salmon farming is adversely impacting migratory fish and the marine environment.

The report was dismissed by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation as a “rehash of ill-informed information from 20 years ago.”

Paul Knight, chief executive of the S&TA, says today: ““Scientific research confirms that farming of salmon in floating cage farms on the Scottish west coast has had a negative impact on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout; even the Scottish Government now concedes it is likely that impacts of aquaculture have contributed to the decline in runs.

We must now translate scientific consensus into action.”

Linley-Adams, who will report directly to the S&TA board, has been set six specific areas on which to focus:

  • Politicians (MSPs, MPs and MEPs),arguing the case for sustainable aquaculture
  • Ministers and officials , holding them to account for their decisions
  • The investment community, challenging supports for unsustainable aquaculture
  • Retailers and supermarkets, scrutinizing their claims to be sourcing salmon products from companies farming responsibly and pushing them to demand higher standards of the fish farmers
  • The media, increasing publicity of the problems caused by fish farming
  • The general public, increasing awareness of what does and does not constitute sustainable aquaculture

His priority campaign targets will be for (a) the relocation of those existing fish farm sites identified in areas sensitive for wild fish, and (b) the removal of all smolt cage units from river systems containing wild salmon populations.

Linley-Adams says: “There has simply not been sufficient progress over the last few years in reducing the impact of salmon farming.

I feel the industry is at a crossroads. It can chose the path of unsustainable expansion, or it can recognise its failings, pull back from the brink and start to address the damage it has already caused. Working with the S&TA, I see it as my task to cause the industry to choose the latter option.”

The lawyer and lobbyist has worked for Friends of the Earth, the Marine Conservation Society and as a consultant to WWF-UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link on marine matters. He has written and presented for BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth, and presented BBC TV’s Country Tracks.

He is also Co-convenor of the UK Environmental Law Association Water Working Party, and member of the Environmental Law Foundation.