Norway to slaughter sea-lice infected salmon

As Norway orders the slaughter of two million sea-lice infested farmed salmon, the Salmon & Trout Association (Scotland) is questioning whether Scottish Government would ever take similar action.

The Norwegian authorities have recently ordered that some two million sea-lice infested farmed salmon in the Vikna district of Nord Trondelag be slaughtered with immediate effect after becoming resistant to chemical treatments against the sea-lice parasite.

The action has been prompted specifically to protect wild young salmon (smolts) migrating through the fjords to the open sea next May and June from huge numbers of juvenile sea-lice being produced on and released from particular salmon farms that have been unable to control their lice numbers.

Last week the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) (S&TA(S)) wrote to the Scottish Government, drawing attention to the situation in Norway and asking what consideration it is giving to applying “similar punitive sanctions” against salmon farm operators in Scotland which are unable to keep sea-lice numbers below agreed thresholds.

Hugh Campbell Adamson, Chairman of S&TA(S), said: “Norway’s clamp-down on those salmon farms where sea-lice numbers are out of control shows that it takes the protection of wild salmon seriously. The contrast with the situation in Scotland could hardly be more marked. Here the salmon farming industry’s own figures confirm that sea-lice numbers have been out of control for many months on farms in areas such as West Sutherland and the northern part of Wester Ross and yet the Scottish Government declines to take any action whatsoever. It is difficult to reach any other conclusion but that Scottish Government has decided that west coast wild salmon and sea trout are expendable and that such a price is worth paying in the interests of salmon farming and its expansion.”

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