The Shetland Oil Disaster: Stores stop buying salmon in fears over oil

TWO LEADING chain stores said last night that they would stop buying salmon from the Shetland Islands until more is known about the effects of the oil pollution.

The decision by Marks & Spencer and Tesco is a serious blow to the confidence of the Shetland fish farming industry, even though the two firms buy only a tiny fraction of the pounds 30m-worth of salmon produced there annually.

Marks & Spencer, which has established a reputation for high-quality food, was the first to announce the suspension as 'a temporary precautionary measure'.

A spokeswoman said: 'Only a very small proportion of our salmon comes from the Shetland Islands, we buy most of it in western Scotland. We will not buy any more in Shetland until the situation has clarified.

'Our buyers are going to visit local farmers in the next few days to get first hand knowledge of the situation.'

She was not able to put a value on the store's annual salmon purchases in the Shetland Islands.

Shortly afterwards Tesco, which had originally said that it would continue buying salmon from the Shetland Islands, issued a statement saying that purchases would be suspended because of the pollution.

Like Marks & Spencer, Tesco gets only a small proportion of its salmon from Shetland. Sainsbury's and Safeway said last night that they would continue to buy from the islands but were monitoring the situation.

Safeway, which has sent a senior food technologist to the islands, said in a statement: 'The majority of our Shetland suppliers are not affected because they are nowhere near the location of the oil pollution.'

Yesterday's declaration of a fishing ban around the south of Mainland will put some salmon farms out of action anyway. Sixteen of the 61 farms with about 20-25 per cent of the fish are in the zone.

The remainder are further away, and the decision by Tesco and Marks & Spencer is a further blow to a local economy which has been devastated by the wreck of the oil tanker on Tuesday.

Scott Findlay, spokesman for the Shetland Salmon Farmers Association, said last night: 'The sooner we can get the buyers up here to talk to the salmon farmers and see that everything is all right the better. There is no pollution of salmon here yet, not one fish has been killed.'

One salmon farmer yesterday blamed media publicity for the stores suspending purchases, but said other customers were still buying locally.

Agust Alfredsson said: 'The French for example are taking a very sensible attitude. Some companies there have said they accept it is media hype and know that we have strict internal quality control.'

Both the oil and the dispersants sprayed to break up the slicks can make the fish unfit to eat. But Mr Findlay said that, at the request of farmers, dispersants had not been used near salmon cages.

Brian Wilson, Labour's transport spokesman, yesterday called on the Government to 'stop equivocating' about compensation for victims of the tanker disaster and make a clear-cut statement that local people will not suffer loss.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor