ASDA called on to end deal with sea lice hit farmer
December 12, 2013, 9:37 am
The salmon and trout association of Scotland (S&TA) has called on British retailer Asda to end its relationship with Wester Ross Fisheries, as data shows sea lice is out of control on its farms.
“S&TA(S)) is asking major supermarket chain Asda to take a stand for wild salmon conservation by ending its relationship with Wester Ross Fisheries Limited, a company showcased in Asda’s magazine in July this year, because of its appalling sea-lice record and the threat that poses to wild salmon and sea trout,” the organization said.
The S&TA pointed to the latest quarterly sea lice report (for July to September 2013) published by the salmon farming industry.
It apparently reveals that in the ‘Kennart to Gruinard’ region of the north-west Highlands, where there are seven farms operated by two companies – Wester Ross Fisheries and Scottish Sea Farms Limited – adult female sea-lice numbers were way over the industry’s own threshold for all three months.
In September, the monthly lice count on farms in this area was over nine times the threshold. Those levels have been over that threshold for each of the nine months to September, it said.
“The sea-lice numbers in the region where Wester Ross Fisheries have all their marine farms are shocking and the salmon farmers in these areas have lost all control,” said Hugh Campbell Adamson, chairman of S&TA. “We call on Asda to make a stand and end its relationship with Wester Ross Fisheries Limited in the interests of the conservation of Scotland’s iconic wild salmon and sea trout.”
Retailers must stop “hiding behind opaque certification schemes that mean little in practice”, he added.
A paper published in 2013 by a group of fisheries experts from Norway, Canada and Scotland re-analyzed data from various Irish studies and showed that the impact of sea lice on wild salmon causes a very high loss (34%) of those returning to Irish salmonid rivers, said S&TA.
Most importantly, there is clear evidence that both wild salmon and sea trout are in decline in Scotland’s ‘aquaculture zone’, whereas, generally, populations have stabilized on the east and north coasts where there is no fish-farming, it added.