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University Stands by Sea Lice Figures

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SCOTLAND , UK - The University of St Andrews and authors of a recently published sea lice report have stood by their figures after receiving criticism from the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).

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The announcement comes after the Chairman of SSPO, Professor Phil Thomas, said some of the figures in the media statement published by the University of St Andrews were misleading. In particular, Professor Thomas stated that the report's figure of 39 per cent of ocean mortalities of wild salmon in the Northeast Atlantic being due to sea lice is inaccurate.

Professor Thomas stated that it "erodes the already shaky public confidence in science and scientists, and that is ultimately to the detriment of Scotland.

Professor Thomas added: The paper itself contains individual observations that are in fact contrary to that conclusion. More significantly, as Professor Todd (an author of the paper) must be aware from other work he has published, the decline in salmon returns on the North and East coasts of Scotland where there is no salmon farming are the same as those found elsewhere in Scotland and beyond. This simply demonstrates that his inferences are not soundly founded.

In response, a comment from St Andrews University said: "We stand by our part in this research, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and we stand by our press release, which was agreed by all three authors."

"The central, unequivocal finding of this research paper, as presented in our press release, is that parasites such as sea lice are responsible for an average of 39 per cent of all salmon deaths at sea. We reject Professor Thomas substantial and unwarranted comments on the University of St Andrews."

The representative body for the salmon farming industry is to write to the University of St Andrews demanding an independent inquiry into the conclusion and promotion of the report.

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