Aquaculture for all

Scots farms call for hardline stance on sea lice levels

Atlantic Salmon Sea lice Regulations +5 more

The top representative of Scotland’s salmon farming sector has urged the country’s politicians to lower the level of sea lice deemed acceptable on salmon farms.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), has written to Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP, to “urge Marine Scotland to tighten its action level for the enforcement of measures against sea lice, to help keep momentum and results moving in the right direction.”

Salmon are checked for lice on a weekly basis

© Scottish Sea Farms

Current regulations mean that Marine Scotland can enforce farmers to harvest their fish if they have more than eight adult females per salmon. However, Hesketh-Laird argues that this number should be reduced.

“SSPO members are ready to move to both a lower action level for reporting lice levels on farms and a tighter enforcement level. Specifically, we recommend Marine Scotland reduces the enforcement trigger level from eight to six and the reporting threshold from three to two adult, female lice. To maintain the direction of travel, we recommend a further tightening of the enforcement trigger level to four from February 2020,” she wrote.

The letter also reveals that Grieg Seafood Shetland, who were expelled from the SSPO in 2014 for importing live smolts from Norway, are now back in the trade body.

“I am delighted to let you know that we now have Grieg Seafood Shetland Ltd in membership and so the position I have set out in this letter is one agreed by all the salmon farming industry. We would be happy to meet with you and your officials to discuss our proposals further and the means by which they can be implemented,” she concluded.

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