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Since 2005, all veterinary chemicals have been in greater use, with some going up by as much as 163 per cent. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)

Scotland's salmon farms using booming amounts of chemicals

Click on the flag for more information about United Kingdom UNITED KINGDOM
Friday, January 28, 2011, 23:00 (GMT + 9)

The Scottish salmon farming sector has been dramatically increasing its use of chemicals used to combat sea lice, according to a study conducted by BBC Scotland that will air next week on BBC Radio Scotland.

Fish farmers are now using greater numbers of said toxic chemicals, said the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. Further, BBC’s investigation found that the range of the chemicals has expanded in the last five years.

Since 2005, all veterinary chemicals have been in greater use, with some going up by as much as 163 per cent. And salmon farming output has jumped by 11.3 per cent since that same year, the investigation determined, reports UKPA.

Campaigners have told BBC Radio Scotland that this constitutes proof the industry is losing its grasp on sea lice levels afflicting farmed salmon, and that this problem is also dealing to broader infestation levels of the parasite on wild fish, thereby exacerbating the drop in wild stocks of salmon and sea trout.

"There are examples in those reports of farms that were unable to control their lice problem and as a result the fish were culled early,” noted Guy Linley Adams, an environmental lawyer hired by the wild fish group Salmon and Trout Association (STA).

"Now they've had a massive sea lice problem and they've had to cull early because the products they are using just don't work," Adams continued.

"Now that's happening on a handful of farms, no more than a handful. But if that spreads and we have a large number of farms just unable to treat their sea lice, we have an industry in crisis," he added, BBC reports. 

BBC’s programme explains that the aquaculture industry continues to insist on the lack of evidence connecting sea lice numbers on fish farms with severe problems suffered by wild fish stocks.

"The reasons for increased use of sea lice medicines are quite complex and almost certainly due to a number of factors,” the Scottish Government said in a statement.

"In order to be certain of the reasons, much more information would be required on where, when and how use has been made of sea louse medicines, but in general increasing use is not in itself necessarily a matter for concern."

Related articles:

- Draft global salmon aquaculture standards released 

- Fishers call for greater wild stocks protection 

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

 


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