Everyone in Scotland should be able to enjoy the countryside and the water safely. In order to achieve this, salmon farmers ask that people remain a safe distance away from farms and other facilities. This is for the safety of everybody, including farm workers and other marine users, and also to protect the health and welfare of fish on the farms.
Unauthorised visits to fish farms place employees and the animals they care for at risk and subjects them to unnecessary stress. Such visits impede their work and can affect their ability to follow the strict health, safety and animal welfare procedures required of them. Fish farm employees should be able to work without fear of abuse or harassment.
Salmon farms, like many workplaces, pose risks to workers and visitors alike. Visitors should be accompanied at all times by a representative of the company running the farm and visits should only take place after permission has been granted. All visits must then be undertaken in accordance with the safety and biosecurity measures in place on each farm.
Fish farms are located in dynamic marine environments which are subject to rapid shifts in weather conditions as well as changing tides and sea states. Potential hazards include; deep water, strong currents and drag, cold water immersion, entanglement and, if alighting onto a barge or pen, slips, trips, falls and crushing. There is a risk to persons and property from structures and pipes under the water that may not be visible from the surface including mooring ropes, chains, pipes, cables, anchors and nets. These can pose an unseen hazard to recreational water users including swimmers, scuba divers, kayakers and boaters. It is advised that a distance of 15 metres is maintained from the perimeter of a site to ensure safe passage and minimise any risk of harm or damage. You should avoid swimming, diving or kayaking closer than 15 metres to a fish farm.
Salmon farmers work hard to mitigate the risks to their own personnel and contractors by making sure everybody undertakes proper training and that strict safety and biosecurity protocols are followed at all times. Special personal protective equipment is required for visits to farms and no outer equipment that has been to one farm may then be taken to another before being thoroughly disinfected. This is done to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
Unauthorised visits may be reported to the appropriate authorities. Those who arrive without permission on to a fish farm must accept responsibility for their own safety and be aware that they are likely to be filmed by CCTV systems.
Salmon farmers understand the curiosity that surrounds structures such as fish farms and are keen to ensure that all water users understand the potential risks to people and property. Most farmers will arrange properly managed visits to their facilities if contacted in advance and we would encourage any interested water users to do so.