Press Release: International Research Team Discredits Marine Institute’s Sea Lice Research

Press Release: International Research Team Discredits Marine Institute’s Sea Lice Research
15 August 2013

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This week’s comment by an international team of experts support Save Bantry Bay’s argument that Dr David Jackson of the Marine Institutes conclusions on sea lice are misleading and based on bad science.

The team, from Canada, Norway and Scotland, whose work has been published in the specialist peer reviewed Journal of Fish Diseases state that Jackson’s conclusions ‘can be supported only if one is prepared to accept at least three methodological errors’.1

In their re-analysis of data used by Jackson they highlight that rather than sea lice emanating from salmon farms causing a 1% mortality of salmon smolts, as Jackson concluded, they in fact cause a one third reduction in adult salmon returns.

The research team conclude that this ‘has implications for management and conservation of wild salmon stocks’.

Alec O’Donovan, Secretary of Save Bantry Bay comments ‘Crucially this is the difference between salmon farming being sustainable and unsustainable for protected wild salmon populations. With the David Jackson and the Marine Institute’s research now dismissed, the government has got to take heed of its own advisors recommendations from 1994, which clearly stated salmon farms should not be placed within 20km of wild salmon rivers’.2

‘It is astonishing’ said Kieran O’Shea, Chairman of Save Bantry Bay. ‘The government has allowed its own agencies pull the wool over their eyes. The Marine Institute’s sea lice research has caused controversy after controversy. World expert, Professor Mark Costello, has personally written to Minister Simon Coveney to warn him that he is being fed mis-information, and now a team of international scientists have discredited David Jackson’s research in a well-respected peer reviewed journal. Not only is the Marine Institute putting their reputation at considerable risk, but also that of the Irish government as a whole. Yet again, Save Bantry Bay are asking that government stop blindly pushing their salmon farming agenda, backed by bad science, but instead complete a full Strategic Environmental Assessment as is required by EU law.’

For further information contact:

1. Alec O’Donovan, Secretary, Save Bantry Bay, 087 7949227 (mobile) or 0207 50508
2. Kieran O’Shea, Chair, Save Bantry Bay, 086 1280303 (mobile) or 027 60121 (office)

Notes to Editors:

1. Comment on Jackson et al. ‘Impact of Lepeophtheirus salmonis infestations on migrating Altantic salmon, Salmo salar L., at eight locations in Ireland with an analysis of lice-induced marine mortality’, M Krkosek, C W Revie, B Finstad and CD Todd, Published in Journal of Fish Disease, doi: 10.1111/jfd.12157. Click here to download Krkosek et al comment on Jackson et al 2013

2. Fisheries Research Centre, Abbotstown (1995) Report to the Minister of the Marine, Sea Trout Working Group 1994. Published by The Stationary Office, Dublin. click here to download sea trout working group report 1994

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