Navigating Turbulent Waters: Exploring the Conversation Surrounding Scottish Salmon Farming

Natalie Sampson

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract / Description of output

Atlantic salmon are an anadromous species of fish found in the north Atlantic ocean and in the rivers that flow into it. Considered a keystone species in their eco-systems, they have been traditionally fished for centuries but in the mid twentieth century, the potential to farm Atlantic salmon was recognised and by the 1980’s was established in Scotland. The farmed Scottish salmon sector has grown considerably in the last fifty years, alongside increasing competing tensions around the impact of the sector, how it aligns with the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals and the emerging One Health paradigm.
This dissertation focuses on the stakeholder conversations, and controversies, around the farmed Scottish salmon sector in relation to fish health & welfare, environmental impact and sustainability. It systematically explores a collection of narratives to look beyond the surface discourse, examining both shared understanding and disagreement. Initial exploration draws on a critical scoping literature review to establish current academic understanding of stakeholder narratives. This study collected primary qualitative data through online
questionnaires (open ended questions) and semi-structured interviews, enabling in-depth examination of the narratives at play. Participants were selected through publicly available secondary data and information gleaned from the literature review to reflect the spectrum of known perceptions, and their narratives examined systematically through thematic analysis. The findings illustrate the importance that underpinning values, beliefs, emotions and
tensions from stakeholder lived experiences play in shaping and impacting their views on the future path of the sector, their awareness of the whole system and how to work constructively with other stakeholders. It concludes that amongst a diverse array of stakeholders, by facilitating deep listening and One Health systemic thinking, it may be possible to reframe the narratives and navigate the controversies. This study presents new insights into a highly charged debate that could facilitate a shift to more constructive and collaborative conversations that to date, have been difficult to achieve.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cousquer, Glen, Supervisor
  • Brennan, Mary, Supervisor
Award date31 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Scottish Salmon
  • Salmon Farming
  • Construction of Narratives
  • One Health
  • One Health Systemic Thinking
  • Deep Listening
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Future Studies


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