Get the facts

Atlantic salmon have declined by 70% in Scottish rivers since 2000. Industrial salmon farming is one of the causes linked to this decline.

Salmon farming in Scotland has grown exponentially since the 1970s. In 2021, the Scottish salmon industry produced just over 205,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon; this is expected to double in the coming years, with an aim of producing 400,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

The overview

Often touted as an environmentally-friendly alternative to other forms of protein, in reality industrial salmon farming wreaks havoc on the surrounding environment; has severe costs for the planet in terms of resources and carbon use; and facilitates the immense suffering of millions of fish.

These issues apply to all types of farmed salmon, whether they are certified, so-called ‘organic’, sold fresh or smoked. Certification labels are no guarantee for sustainability – breaches of their standards are frequently ignored, and almost never result in a loss of accreditation for the farm.


Decline in the estimated number of salmon returning to the Scottish coast. Data are taken from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas Working Group on North Atlantic Salmon.


Open-net salmon farms compromise the integrity of
the marine and freshwater ecosystems of Scotland.


The production of salmon comes at a significant
price for the planet.


Salmon farming is a form of intensive farming, with
immense welfare issues.

Eating Atlantic salmon from open net salmon farms is the wrong choice for our health and the health of our environment. Responsible consumers should avoid these inhumanely, unsustainably raised fish.

Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

Authors of Salmon Wars