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Most are transported south to be burnt at an incinerator in Widnes near Warrington in northwest England.

Campaign groups warn that the industry is facing an “environment catastrophe”, is “haemorrhaging cash” and “shames Scotland”.

It also inevitably leads to the release of an infectious soup of disease organisms into our coastal waters.” He called for the industry to shift to a “closed containment system” that would protect the fish and the marine environment.

The same demand was made by the wild fish campaign group, Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland.

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“This is something which the industry takes very seriously and is working hard to minimise.

“Infectious diseases and lice infestation are crippling the Scottish salmon farming industry which is haemorrhaging cash,” he claimed.

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), which represents the industry, accepted that there had “unfortunately” been losses.

Disposal of mortalities is managed in line with the government’s approved methods and legislation.” Marine Harvest insisted it had been “very transparent” about the issues it had been facing with sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD).

“We would clearly prefer if we had not had this level of mortalities,” said the company’s business support manager, Steve Bracken.

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