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Lice data lag “unacceptable and unwarranted”

3 May 2018, at 11:42am

Scotland’s salmon industry should publish their farm-by-farm sea lice levels in real time, rather than waiting three months.

So claim Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland), who say they are “dismayed” that this week’s publication of sea lice data for January is three months “in arrears”.

According to S&TC this “falls short” of recommendations made by the Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee that “The industry should be required to publish it in real time.”

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TC Scotland, said: “The industry is clearly ignoring most of what the ECCLR Committee called for – with no good reason. SSPO has unilaterally decided that it will publish data three months in arrears. Such a time lag for the release of individual farm sea lice data is unacceptable and unwarranted. There is no logical reason why the delay should be any more than a week or two.”

Speaking at yesterday’s REC committee, Stewart Graham, MD of Gaelforce, defended the lag in the publication time, pointing out that commercial and even personal attacks could occur in the wake of reports of high lice levels.

S&TC also pointed out that the figures for January were far from encouraging.

Guy Linley-Adams, solicitor for S&TC Scotland, said that the data “indicates that there are still major problems with sea lice control. Indeed 31 per cent of farms (a total of 39 out of 126 that were stocked for the whole of January) were above the Code of Good Practice threshold – in some cases seven times over”.

The ECCLR Committee’s report, they point out, “considered that ‘there should be a mandatory requirement to keep sea lice levels within those identified in the Code of Good Practice’, so the data shows that the industry still has a very long way to go’.


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