Anglers demand sea lice numbers

Sea Lice 2Anglers are calling on MSPs and ministers to stop protecting salmon farmers from proper scrutiny over parasites and force them to publish weekly sea-lice count data by law.

They say that while a few sea lice on a large adult fish are not a problem, even a light infestation on fragile juvenile smolts will be fatal, and this is a test of the Scottish Government’s commitment to conserving wild salmon and trout.

< p>The association wants parliamentarians to amend the current Bill, or use existing powers in the Aquaculture Act 2007, by publishing a list of salmon farms the Scottish Government’s own Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) has noted as breaching sea-lice thresholds.

< p>The STA has published the identity of 67 farms noted during FHI inspections in 2011 and 2012 as having breached Code of Good practice thresholds of sea lice.

< p>Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), said the real issue was not the numbers of sea lice, but whether or not they had any impact on the wild fish, and that requires information from both farmers and wild fish interests.

< p>A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We welcome the enhanced voluntary sea lice data publication scheme from the SSPO, based on recognised wild fish catchments, as a positive step forward.”

The Salmon & Trout Association (STA) believes the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, which will be debated in the Scottish Parliament next week, is an opportunity to ensure the relevant information on sea lice from each individual fish farm in Scotland is made public.

The association wants parliamentarians to amend the current Bill, or use existing powers in the Aquaculture Act 2007, by publishing a list of salmon farms the Scottish Government’s own Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) has noted as breaching sea-lice thresholds.

Read More:
The Herald (11 May 2013)

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