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February 3rd 2021

Scottish farmed salmon sector delivers second lowest year on record for sea lice

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 is 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 despite seasonal challenges.

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

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

"Fish health and welfare will always be our members' top priority. The Scottish salmon sector continues to invest and innovate in the management of such challenges as sea lice. These figures - the second lowest in 8 years - remain at consistently low levels thanks to the considerable efforts of farmers.

"Despite the issues posed by the coronavirus pandemic which necessitated changes to working and farming practices, Scotland's salmon farmers have ably demonstrated their ability to care for their fish with the upmost professionalism while ensuring consumers in the UK and beyond have had access to fresh, healthy food."

READ MORE: What are Sea Lice?

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.


The annual lice average (adult females) for each year, from 2013 to date, is shown in the graph and table below. 2018 had the lowest annual lice average since detailed records were published, in 2013.

Year Lice average (adult females)
2013 0.54
2014 1.15
2015 1.30
2016 1.33
2017 0.90
2018 0.46
2019 0.54
2020 0.52