SEA lice numbers recorded at Scottish salmon farms in September were the lowest for that month in five years, and overall numbers for 2018 were the lowest since reporting began in 2013.
According to the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), which published the latest figures on its website this week, the industry lice average for September 2018 was 0.61 adult females.
On the whole, lice levels during 2018 have remained the lowest they have been since 2013, said the SSPO.
At the moment, farm by farm data is published three months in arrears but there is pressure on the industry, following two parliamentary inquiries last year, to produce more up to date figures.
Salmon farmers, along with representatives from Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and Fisheries Management Scotland (which represents wild salmon interests), are currently engaged in reviewing sea lice strategies as part of the Farmed Fish Health Framework.
The framework was set up by Rural Economy Minister Fergus Ewing last year and is divided into sub-groups, one tackling sea lice, gill health, cleaner fish and information flow and transparency.
As part of the overall framework, salmon farmers have also committed to publishing salmon mortality data on a farm-by-farm basis from 2018.
The framework ‘will help develop an ambitious and measurable road map for increasing farmed salmonid survival, to further underpin the sustainability of this vital industry to Scotland’s rural economy,’ said the SSPO.
To see the SSPO’s latest sea lice statistics visit scottishsalmon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Industry-averages-Sept-2018.pdf
Picture: Rural Economy Minister Fergus Ewing set up the Farmed Fish Health Framework last year