Irish salmon farms halt harvesting
PRESS RELEASE. FEBRUARY 5, 2014
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
Marine Harvest, responsible for 80% of Irish farmed salmon, has halted harvesting in Ireland in an effort to grow their fish after exception loses of €6.6m in 2013.
The announcement came in today’s 2013 4th quarter report of the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon. It reported that harvesting has been halted in January and the first half of February, 2014 ‘in an effort to grow the fish’. Production in the 4th quarter of 2013 was less than half the comparative period in 2012.
Describing the Irish conditions as ‘very challenging’, the report said ‘Severe storms affected feeding and the ability to treat for sea lice and AGD [Amoebic gill disease]. Pancreas Disease (PD) severely affected 2 sites and AGD losses were recorded at one site, while high occurrences of jelly fish were reported across all regions, resulting in elevated mortality.‘
The €2.3 million lose comes after reported loses of €3.38 in the third quarter of 2013 due to ‘disease, parasites, and adverse biological events’. The third quarter report noted that record sea water temperatures of 21 degrees were a factor in the proliferation of parasites and disease and may be connected to the increase in algae blooms and jellyfish.
A note to both accounts states ‘The Board recognises the efforts made by the Irish team under challenging conditions’.
A spokesman for Friends of the Irish Environment said that ‘This is further evidence that along our coastal bays closed containment systems, which are now coming into production around the world, are the only way forward.’
‘By separating the farmed fish from the natural environment, disease and parasites can be controlled without adverse effects on other species and the effluent recycled rather than polluting local waters.’
Marine Harvest 4th quarter 2013 report
Verification and further information
Tony Lowes 353 27 74771 / 353 87 2176316
Gill Disease [AGD]
AGD is now present on many Irish salmon farms, reducing fish appetite and so uptake of in-feed chemicals required to control parasites
Control of AGD requires bringing well boats containing fresh water to the farms and bathing the fish for three hours. The additional costs are substantial.
The company has two planning applications on Clare Island and West Cork for impoundment areas to collect fresh water for the treatment.
Environmentalists have pointed out that aside from the impact of sea lice on returning wild salmon, turbot, bass, bream, sea urchins and crabs are vulnerable to AGD, putting at risk native industries.
Pancreas disease (PD) is currently the most serious of the viral infections affecting Norwegian farmed salmon and was present for the first time in Ireland during 2013, severely affecting two sites. The disease leads to increased mortality, weight loss and low fish product quality. It therefore has a significant influence on fish welfare and on profitability in the aquaculture industry.
Both infected and dead salmon can shed the salmonid pancreas disease virus into the sea. Recent research shows how the virus particles can be spread by the wind and ocean currents from one fish farm to the next along the coast.
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