In other words… Letters ignored
The Scottish aquaculture sector has its detractors, we understand that. But when activists, cultural institutions, organisations and publications choose to ignore invitations to visit farms, refuse to engage in constructive dialogue, or prove to be unwilling to discuss anything that challenges their viewpoint it can be extremely frustrating.
A good example is the recent letter below, written to the Editor of Trout and Salmon magazine, a publication that declares itself ‘the voice of game-fishing since 1955’. Disappointingly, but perhaps not unsurprisingly, the letter went unpublished.
Letter to the editor — Trout and Salmon:
February 9, 2021:
As an avid and enthusiastic reader of Trout & Salmon I would like to contribute to a more balanced debate on the merits of Aquaculture for your readers.
I was disappointed in an article in the March edition about Tate Britain’s uninformed decision to remove farm-raised salmon from its restaurant menu and “expose” the harms of raising salmon through its exhibition.
Tate’s exhibition titled “Climavore” is an important one that aims to explore the relationship between “how we eat and the climate emergency”, and that makes it even more puzzling that they choose to remove the animal protein that has the lowest carbon and freshwater footprints. British salmon (and trout) is locally raised, it’s nutritious, it’s the most resource-efficient animal protein on the planet and is recognised by the United Nations as crucial to meeting its goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition.
Tate’s lack of understanding about how and why salmon turn their pink colour is also surprising. It’s a natural process by which healthy carotenoids included in the salmon’s diet (whether wild or farm-raised) also pigment the flesh. Another example from the animal world is a flamingo: born white, but turns pink after it eats foods that contain carotenoids. Carotenoids are also antioxidants that help enhance the immune systems of animals and humans.
While readers of Trout & Salmon may be interested to read about aquaculture, they should also expect to be given a balanced view that offers different perspectives, opinions and ideas. The filtered lens of Trout & Salmon in regards to salmon farming is becoming too obvious, and distracts from our goal to support our iconic wild Atlantic salmon.
For example, readers may wish to learn about how the aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors are working together to find solutions to help restore salmon populations that began declining before the mid-twentieth century. Some examples of this collaborative work include genetic research, habitat restoration, farm site relocation, and natural spawning improvement programmes.
Your readers of Trout and Salmon are intelligent and have the ability to think critically, so please don’t be afraid to explore all angles.
An open approach and opportunity for a balanced debate would likely have prevented Tate Britain from contradicting the whole premise of their Climavore exhibit.
Kind regards, Campbell Morrison
It is this blog’s understanding that no representative of Tate Eats, the organisation with responsibility for catering at all Tate venues, has ever visited a Scottish salmon farm. As yet they have also chosen not to accept any of the invitations proffered by the Scottish salmon sector’s trade body to spend a day at a farm. An opportunity that would afford them the chance to have all their questions and potential concerns answered by those best placed to do so — Scotland’s salmon farmers.