Sea Lice

 

FishyLeaks, 4 February 2013
 
Scottish Salmon Infested With Parasites
- Sea Lice Data Reveals 1001 Reasons to Boycott Farmed Salmon

Read press release and media backgrounder in full online here

Wester Ross, Scotland – Scottish salmon and sea trout are infested with sea lice parasites according to new data released by Marine Scotland via Freedom of Information and published online via FishyLeaks.  Infestation levels of up to 145 sea lice per fish were recorded in Shieldaig in Wester Ross in 2012; up to 196 in Laxford in West Sutherland in 2008; 117 in Tarbert in Argyll in 2008; 113 in Sunart in Lochaber in 2008; and a staggering 1001 sea lice on a salmon sampled in Kanaird in Wester Ross in 2008. 

Sea lice photos


Out of over 11,000 wild salmon and sea trout sampled since 1997 there were 2,750 fish with 10 or more sea lice; 913 fish with 50 or more sea lice and 367 fish with 100 or more sea lice.  By far the worst area was Dundonnell in Wester Ross which reported 40 out of the top 50 infestation rates.   
 
Download sea lice data made available via FOI (February 2013):

- Kishorn (2010-2012): online here

- Shieldaig (2008-2012): online here

- Gairloch (2011): online here

- West Sutherland (2008-2009): online here

- Wester Ross (2008-2009): online here

- Argyll (2008-2009): online here

- Lochaber (2008-2009): online here

- Outer Hebrides (2008-2009): online here

- Torridon (2008-2009): online here

- All Regions (1997-2009): online here

Read the FOI letter from Marine Scotland on sea lice (1 February 2013) - online here

FOI reply email 1 Feb 2013

The latest information published by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) also reveals alarming sea lice infestation levels across Scotland – with salmon farms in North Mainland 263% above the suggested lice treatment threshold of 1.0 adult female lice per fish;  East Shetland 135% above the threshold; and West Shetland 123% above the threshold for the period September to December 2012.  

SSPO sea lice regions

Salmon farming companies operating in Scotland all report growing parasite problems.  “Grieg Seafood Hjaltland has suffered from sea lice challenges in 2012,” stated Grieg Seafood in their Q3 2012 report published last month.  “All regions reported higher sea lice levels at the end of the second quarter of 2012 compared to the second quarter of 2011,” stated Marine Harvest’s Q2 2012 report.  Marine Harvest publishes their Q4 2012 report on Wednesday (6 February). 
 
“Scottish salmon is farmed and dangerous,” said Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture.  “Sea lice from salmon farms are killing wild salmon and sea trout across Scotland.  Scottish farmed salmon should be avoided like the plague.”

3 pack sea lice
The revelations comes in the wake of a scientific paper published in November 2012 by the Royal Society which detailed the lethal impact of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon.  Scottish Government research published in February 2013 also revealed that sea lice from salmon farms impact wild sea trout up to 32km away.  Another report published in January 2013 by the Rivers & Fisheries Trusts of Scotland detailed increased sea lice infestation levels on wild sea trout during 2012 compared to 2011 with an “increasing infestation pattern” and “detrimental lice loads above critical thresholds”.
 
The Scottish Government is protecting the salmon farming from public scrutiny.  Last month, Marine Scotland refused a FOI request on sea lice as “manifestly unreasonable”.  In a debate in the Scottish Parliament (9 January), the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, also refused to publish sea lice data.   “It is not that farm-by-farm data on sea lice are not being collected; the issue is more to do with publication,” testified the Minister.  “Why does the Scottish Government seem so reluctant to go down the route of farm-by-farm data collection on sea lice?” asked Alex Fergusson MSP.
 
The issue of sea lice was also debated in December 2012 by the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee.  “Publication of aggregated figures, controlled by the SSPO, on a delayed basis, is unacceptable in the 21st century for an industry which claims to ‘have nothing to hide’,” stated one submission.  “We need data on a ‘real time’ basis to allow mitigation measures to be put in place at the time of crisis, rather than reflecting on a disaster after it has occurred. Why can Scotland not have a similar level of transparency from the largely Norwegian-owned operators to that which they are obliged to comply with in their home country?”
 
“The Scottish Government’s refusal to publish sea lice data for Scotland’s salmon farms is manifestly unreasonable,” continued Staniford.  “It is shameful that the Scottish Government is allowing the salmon farming industry to hide behind a veil of secrecy on sea lice.  A public register detailing infestation rates on farmed salmon as well as wild salmon and sea trout must be published as a matter of urgency.”
 
In September 2012, FishyLeaks published damning figures revealing a 12-fold increase in the use of toxic chemicals on Scottish salmon farms (due to chemical resistance and the development of so-called ‘super-lice’). In December 2012, FishyLeaks published data from Ireland showing how Marine Harvest was breaching sea lice thresholds with 44 sea lice per farmed salmon.  Last month, FishyLeaks published details of how parasite infestation associated with Amoebic Gill Disease has affected at least 44 salmon farms in Scotland since October 2011.    
 
Contact:
 
Don Staniford (Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture): 07771 541826

Notes to Editors:

For recent news on sea lice infestation on salmon farms please read:
 
44 sea lice per salmon at Marine Harvest Ireland farm” (Undercurrent News, 18 December 2012)
 
FishyLeaks: Lice-Infested Irish Salmon (Continued)!” (FishyLeaks, 18 December)
 
Sea lice levels in local fish farms: reports show breaches of sea lice levels in Donegal” (Donegal Democrat, 17 December 2012)
 
Sea lice hitting Donegal farms hardest – problems in Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay” (Donegal news, 30 November 2012)
 
Wild salmon stocks ‘wiped out’ by sea lice” (Irish Independent, 16 November 2012)
 
Devastating impact on Wild Salmon populations from Sea Lice” (Inland Fisheries Ireland, 15 November 2012)
 
Parasites have big impact on salmon” (Royal Society, 7 November 2012)
 
Sea lice killing large numbers of salmon” (BBC News, 7 November 2012)
 
Farmed fish lice link to wild salmon deaths” (The Herald, 7 November 2012)
 
Chemicals to control salmon parasites” (The Guardian, 10 September)
 
Keeping Salmon Farming Problems Secret” (Sunday Herald, 1 July 2012)
 
Sea lice infestations on farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland and the use of ectoparasitic treatments” (Veterinary Record, 2012)
 
Inspections reveal 'sea lice breaches' in salmon farms” (BBC News, 7 April 2011)
 
Government 'gagged' by salmon farming industry” (Sunday Herald, 26 December 2010)
 
Plague of 'super-lice' threatens wild salmon” (Caledonian Mercury, 16 February 2010)

==========================================================================================

FishyLeaks, 18 December 2012

Lice-Infested Irish Salmon Continued

- Ireland’s Parasite Problems Exposed by ‘FishyLeaks’

Another leaked Government report reveals that Irish farmed salmon - including so-called 'organic' salmon farms - are breaching sea lice levels by over three times.  Marine Harvest's salmon farm in Lough Swilly is so infested with parasitic sea lice that there are over 44 sea lice per farmed salmon whilst Mannin Bay's 'organic' salmon are infested with over 15 sea lice per farmed salmon!

The latest data (November 2012) compiled by the Marine Institute reveals that Marine Harvest is breaching the sea lice protocol level (set at 2 ovigerous - pregnant female - lice per farmed salmon) for the FIFTH month running.  

Sea Lice Nov 2012 snapshot

Read November 2012 sea lice data in full online here

 

In October 2012 Marine Harvest’s feedlot in Lough Swilly was infested with 54 sea lice per fish – breaching the Irish Government’s protocol levels by almost five times along with Mannin Bay’s ‘organic’ salmon feedlot at Corhounagh.  In September 2012, Marine Harvest’s feedlot in Mulroy Bay was infested with 58 sea lice per farmed salmon with Lough Swilly infested with a staggering 71 sea lice per farmed salmon (both over five times the Government’s sea lice protocol level)!

 

"Lice-infested Irish farmed salmon - including 'organic' salmon - should be avoided like the plague," said Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) in a press release (18 December).  "The Irish Government should be controlling sea lice infestation on salmon farms not promoting even bigger feedlots such as the proposed 15,000 tonne farm in Galway Bay.  Join the boycott of farmed salmon and send a festive message to Marine Harvest that disease-ridden salmon does not belong on the Christmas menu."

Wild fish

GAAIA is now writing to the Irish Government, Marine Harvest and Mannin Bay Salmon asking why sea lice protocol levels are being flagrantly breached month after month - read GAAIA's letter (18 December) addressed to the Ireland's Fisheries Minister Simon Coveney online here

Excuses

The Sunday Times Ireland reported (16 December):

"Gerry O’Donohue, of Mannin Bay Salmon, said sea lice were a problem for all fish farms. “We are very careful to ensure that we do everything possible to reduce the prevalence of sea lice in our salmon stocks.  “We have learnt how to deal with sea lice. When high levels of sea lice are detected, we harvest the fish, as we are an organic farm and do not use chemicals,” he said.

Marine Harvest Ireland said its Irish operations were audited 14 times a year by officials from the Marine Institute.  “We note that the control protocols in respect of sea lice operated by the Marine Institute on behalf of the state are more advanced than those operated in other jurisdictions, as the inspection regime is independent of the industry,” the company said.

“Data obtained as a result of inspections is published and treatment trigger levels are set at a low level. These controls are widely accepted as representing best practice internationally. Marine Harvest Ireland conforms fully with this leading pest control strategy.  “We implement tried-and- tested operational procedures to control sea lice. On occasion, given certain climatic conditions, lice can be more prevalent and this has occurred this year as the reports clearly illustrate.”

The Marine Institute declined to comment." 

Sunday Times Ireland 16 Dec 2012 #2

 

The Irish Examiner reported (15 December):

"Marine Harvest last night defended the figures, saying sea lice control protocols in Ireland are “more advanced that those operated in other jurisdictions as the inspection regime is totally independent of the industry”.  “These controls are widely accepted as representing best practice internationally. Marine Harvest Ireland conforms fully with this leading pest-control strategy. Given certain climatic conditions, lice can be more prevalent and this has occurred this year”.

 “Best practice in fish farming is to optimise stock rotation and separation by having a greater number of sites. This is why we have applied for a licence application for Shot Head, to complement our existing facilities by enabling improved rotation of our fish stocks therefore implementing best practice with regard to lice control.”

Bullshit bovine excrement
 

Read a year’s data on sea lice infestation on Irish salmon farms via:

- November 2012: online here

- October 2012: online here

- September 2012: online here

- August 2012: online here

- July 2012: online here

- June 2012: online here

- May 2012: online here

- April 2012: online here

- March 2012: online here

- February 2012: online here

- December 2011 to January 2012: online here


For more details see below
 

Sea lice

 

==========================================================================================

Lice-Infested Irish Salmon Continued
- Ireland’s Parasite Problems Exposed by ‘FishyLeaks’


FishyLeaks today (11 December 2012) published leaked Government reports cataloguing sea lice infestation on Irish salmon farms.  The damming data reveals that Marine Harvest’s feedlot in Lough Swilly was infested with 54 sea lice per fish in October 2012 – breaching the Irish Government’s protocol levels by almost five times along with Mannin Bay’s ‘organic’ salmon feedlot at Corhounagh.  In September 2012, Marine Harvest’s feedlot in Mulroy Bay was infested with 58 sea lice per farmed salmon with Lough Swilly infested with a staggering 71 sea lice per farmed salmon (both over five times the Government’s sea lice protocol level)!

Read the leaked sea lice data online via FishyLeaks - including for October 2012:

Sea Lice Oct 2012 snapshot

 

And for September 2012:

Sea lice Sept 2012 snapshot


Read a year’s sea lice data in full online via FishyLeaks
 
“The public has a right to know that the Irish salmon farming industry is already being plagued by severe sea lice infestation,” said Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA).  “It is a policy of reckless abandon for the Irish Government to be sponsoring a new 15,000 tonne feedlot in Galway Bay – the world’s largest salmon farm which would double salmon farming production in Ireland.  Sea lice infested Irish farmed salmon – including so-called ‘organic’ salmon - should be avoided like the plague.” 

3 pack sea lice

 

The revelations come in the wake of a scientific paper published by the Royal Society in November which concluded that sea lice from salmon farms are killing wild salmon.  Minister of State with responsibility for Natural Resources Fergus O Dowd, TD, welcomed the report stating “from the results of this detailed study, it is crucial that sea lice levels are maintained below these protocol levels”.  However, the latest ‘National Survey of Sea Lice on Fish Farms in Ireland – 2011’ published in February 2012 revealed that 50% of Irish salmon farms breached sea lice levels in 2011 compared to 40% in 2010 and 24% in 2009. 

Sea lice

“The sea lice crisis is spiralling out of control,” continued Staniford.  “No wonder the Marine Institute is desperately trying to keep a lid on the can of worms that is Irish salmon farming.  Ireland is a law unto itself and is consistently flouting sea lice protocol levels despite a 2009 complaint to the European Commission by Salmon Watch Ireland.  Shame on Ireland and shame on Norway which now controls over 60% of Irish salmon farming production via the Norwegian-owned multinational Marine Harvest.”   

Don salmon harming sea lice

 
The leaked monthly sea lice reports include the following statement: “This data is supplied for the information of the recipient only and is not to be used, cited, or conveyed to third parties without the prior permission of the Marine Institute”.   However last month, the Donegal News (30 November) reported on sea lice problems in Mulroy Bay and Lough Swilly.  “They are intended for information only,” said a spokesperson for the Irish Government.  “The full set of inspection results together with a detailed commentary is published annually and posted on the Marine Institute web-site.”
 

Donegal News 30 Nov 2012


 
Marine Harvest’s latest financial reports refer to disease problems including sea lice infestation and Amoebic Gill Disease.   Marine Harvest’s Q3 2012 report includes:

“As indicated in previous reports, the Irish operation has struggled with amoebic gill disease (AGD) for several months. Due to favourable conditions for the amoeba in the quarter, mortality losses and treatment costs were substantial in the period. Exceptional mortality in the amount of NOK 14 million was recognised in the quarter.”

MH Ireland Q3 2012
 

 

Marine Harvest’s Q2 2012 report includes:

 “Cost wise, feed and sea lice mitigation costs have increased compared to 2011. High mortality in the 2012 harvest generation influenced the cost level in the period and will increasingly do so going forward.”

MH Ireland Q2 2012
 

Watch a video report from Marine Harvest’s operations in Mulroy Bay – online via “"Nature has struck back and said "No More!" - Noel Carr on Salmon Farms”  

Noel Carr video #1
 


Read a year’s sea lice data in full online via FishyLeaks

- October 2012: online here

- September 2012: online here

- August 2012: online here

- July 2012: online here

- June 2012: online here

- May 2012: online here

- April 2012: online here

- March 2012: online here

- February 2012: online here

- December 2011 to January 2012: online here

Sea lice photo Royal Society paper Nov 2012

 

Read the press release - "Lice-Infested Irish Salmon: Ireland’s Parasite Problems Exposed by ‘FishyLeaks’" - in full online here