Chemical pollution at Scottish salmon farms

28 of 146 fish farms which used Slice between January 2011 and September 2012 breached Environmental Quality Standards 28 of 146 fish farms which used Slice between January 2011 and September 2012 breached Environmental Quality Standards

Nearly one in five Scottish salmon farms are breaching Environmental Quality Standards for residues of seal lice treatments, which are toxic to lobster, crabs and prawns.

Sea bed monitoring information obtained by the Salmon & Trout Association Scotland (S&TAS) from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) reveals that fish farms using toxic chemical, Slice (emamectin benzoate) for sea lice treatment, show samples in excess of standards designed to protect wild flora and fauna.

A total of 28 (19.1%) of 146 fish farms, which used Slice between January 2011 and September 2012 are breaching standards. 15 of these are operated by Marine Harvest (Scotland) Limited.

The cause of the problem at Marine Harvest farms is unclear, but the S&TAS says its efforts to control sea lice on the farmed fish could be one possibility.

“If it does turn out to be the case that efforts to control sea lice are having a negative effect elsewhere, it may be impossible in practice to adequately control sea lice on very high tonnage fish farms, down to a level which does not cause an unacceptable parasitic load on wild fish, while at the same time avoiding a threat to wild crustaceans, such as lobster, prawn and crab, upon which many inshore fishermen rely for their livelihoods,” said Hughie Campbell-Adamson, chairman, S&TAS.

“The S&TAS would urge both Marine Harvest and the Scottish Government to start the move towards closed containment of all salmon farming,” he added.

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