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September 29th 2020

The Scottish salmon farming sector continues to work hard to minimise the use of veterinary prescribed medicines as part of an integrated strategy to manage fish health.

Farmers and fish vets responsibly use medicines, appraised and approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), by balancing the welfare of animals with maintaining the unique wild environment in which they are reared.

Farming in such wild environments mean that fish can experience challenges that differ from year to year. Responses by farmers to those challenges are tailored to their individual situations - each using the collective set of tools available in different ways. It is therefore imperative that farmers have access to veterinary medicines, as well as alternative approaches, in order to fulfill their responsibilities in caring for their animals.

The latest statistics, released by SEPA, demonstrate the sector's responsible use of medicines, maximising fish health and welfare while minimising any impact on the environment.

Anne Anderson, SSPO Sustainability Director, said: "The integrated fish health and welfare strategy of medicinal, biological and technical tools is continuously evolving and typically the use of medicines is decreasing in favour of other techniques, but they must always be available, as they are for all other livestock farmers.

"The statistics published by SEPA show that the salmon farming sector continues to use medicines responsibly to protect fish health and welfare. Medicines are an important element of the sector's welfare strategy, which also includes biological and technical methods to manage natural challenges such as sea lice.

"All medicines are used under veterinary prescription, are fully approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and permitted for use by SEPA."

Scottish salmon sector medicine use 2015-2019 (kgs)

Medicine201520162017201820193 yr avg5 yr avg
Emamectin benzoate70554736454250

Background Information:

Independent testing has regularly shown that Scottish salmon products carry no trace of any medicines, unlike many other animal products.

Scottish salmon farmers are committed to reducing the use of veterinary medicines by investing in a range of biological and technical methods to control sea lice. The trend over the past 3/5 years demonstrates the reduction in the use of emamectin benzoate and azamethiphos.