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May 7th 2021

Scottish farmed salmon sector has voluntarily published data on sea lice for the last 10 years.

Reporting of sea lice figures - which has made Scottish salmon one of the most open and transparent livestock sectors in the UK - is to be transferred formally to a government agency next month.

The publication function will now be the responsibility of Marine Scotland with reporting and publication intervals transitioning from monthly to weekly.

The Scottish salmon farming sector remains unique in UK farming for transparent reporting. Sea lice levels have been voluntarily recorded and published by the SSPO since 2010.

Annual figures published 03.02.2021 by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) show that sea lice averages for the Scottish farmed salmon sector were 0.52 adult female lice per salmon for 2020.

This represents a fall on 2019's average of 0.54 and means that 2020 was the second best year on record for sea lice averages after 2018's 0.46. The figure demonstrates the sector's ability to keep numbers consistently low thanks to the considerable efforts of farmers and dedicated fish health professionals.

The Scottish salmon sector remains committed to successfully pursuing its 'prevention over cure' strategy with regards to controlling the naturally occurring parasite through innovations such as the symbiotic use of cleaner fish and water treatments.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation said:

"Fish health and welfare will always be our members' top priority. Scotland's salmon farmers continue to demonstrate their ability to care for their fish with the upmost professionalism.

"The sector's commitment to transparency remains paramount and we look forward to working with Marine Scotland to ensure a smooth transition of the reporting initiative, introduced voluntarily by our members a decade ago."

Reinforcing its commitment to sustainability and transparency - and to further understanding regarding the animal health and welfare challenges faced by all farmers - the Scottish farmed salmon sector will continue to publish information on mortality losses, and from now onwards will harmonise its reporting on the causes of mortality with that of the Scottish Government's Farmed Fish Health Framework initiative.

In 2020 the Scottish Salmon farming sector publish their Sustainability Charter: A Better Future For Us All - setting out their ambition to be world-leading in the provision of healthy, tasty, nutritious food grown in the most responsible and sustainable way.


READ MORE: Sea Lice Trends in Scottish Salmon Farming