Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout
Scottish Government called upon to review its position and act now to protect wild fish.
An exhaustive new report, Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, commissioned by S&TC Scotland, examines all the available and up to date research on the impact of sea lice from salmon farms. The report concluded unambiguously that…
“The combined knowledge from scientific studies provides evidence of a general and pervasive negative effect of salmon lice on salmonid populations in intensively farmed areas of Ireland, Norway and Scotland.”
The report, Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, is published by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research.
It is authored by Prof Eva B. Thorstad and Dr Bengt Finstad, both internationally acknowledged for their expertise in sea lice biology and the interactions between salmon farming and wild fish.
The report is published today and can be accessed below through our site or the NINA site
Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TC Scotland, said:
“For many years we have maintained that the Scottish Government’s position – that there is ‘no evidence’ in Scotland that sea lice from salmon farming damage wild salmon and sea trout ‘populations’ – is untenable.
The Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout report substantiates our view that it would be very odd indeed if the Scottish situation was markedly different to elsewhere.
We do after all have the same sea lice, which all too often Scottish salmon farm operators are incapable of keeping under control, and the same wild fish.”
Mr Graham-Stewart added:
“The forthcoming Parliamentary Inquiry provides a timely opportunity to redress the balance between the drive for growth of the salmon farming industry, at all costs, and the need to protect wild fish. We trust that the Committees conducting the Inquiry will pay close heed to the conclusions of this important report.”
Photo: Steinar Kålås. Heavily lice-infested sea trout, causing loss of skin and thus brain to be exposed.
Paul Knight, CEO of S&TC and co-Chair of the NGOs at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO), said:
“At NASCO’s annual meetings Scotland has been repeatedly challenged for its systematic denial of any significant negative impacts caused by salmon farming in the west Highlands and Islands on wild salmon and sea trout.
The ‘impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout’ report vindicates the NGO stance that sea lice emanating from salmon farms are harmful to populations of wild fish, often devastatingly so. Scotland is no exception.”
In June, the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, in response to a formal Petition lodged in the Scottish Parliament in February 2016 by S&TC Scotland seeking protection for wild salmonids from sea lice from Scottish salmon farms, agreed to launch an Inquiry (scheduled this year) into salmon farming in Scotland and the issues we have raised.