Sea lice debate rages on

How much does farming impact on wild salmon reserves? How much does farming impact on wild salmon reserves?

Scotland’s Salmon and Trout Association (S&TAS) has demanded that the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO) retracts its latest statement dismissing the impact of sea lice on wild salmon.

S&TAS says that the statement which says that the average mortality in wild salmon due to sea lice is just 1% is flawed and that a new scientific paper proves otherwise.

The association points out that the recent Journal of Fish Diseases paper by Krkošek et al – international experts on sea lice and methodology, refutes the findings that the SSPO statement was based on.

SSPO's statement was based on revious research by Dr Dave Jackson of the Marine Institute in Ireland which was published back in February in the same journal.

S&TAS says that the new paper shows flaws up in the original Jackson research which includes annual data differences not being treated appropriately and averages on fish survival not being used properly. It also says there were grave inaccuracies in measuring control and treatment group.

According to S&TAS, the advent of salmon farming, particularly in fjordic sea lochs, has led to a fundamental change in the density and occurrence of sea lice in parts of the coastal waters of the west Highlands and Islands. This is killing off wild salmon reserves and compromising the survival of juvenile migratory salmonids.

When approached by World Fishing & Aquaculture, Scott Landsburgh, chief executive, Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation said: "We stand by our position and we, like they, are entitled to our opinion."

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