Irish Times, 28 March 2014: Save Bantry Bay group claims sea lice statement ‘misleading’

Save Bantry Bay group claims sea lice statement ‘misleading’

Irish Times, 28 March 2014

By Derek Evans

With reference to recent media coverage relating to Marine Institute research on sea lice, the Save Bantry Bay group concludes the statement was “misleading” and “deceptive”.

The statement claims the Journal of Fish Diseases apologised for publishing the critique of the work of Dr David Jackson, senior Marine Institute fisheries inspector, and that the critique was “downgraded”.

When read more closely, the apology is for nothing more than an administrative error that meant Jackson’s response was not published alongside the critique. What is more, at no point does it suggest the critique was “downgraded” or that there are any errors in the critique, according to Save Bantry Bay.

Krkosek et al’s claim stated “three fundamental errors” in Jackson’s work. The Marine Institute’s statement goes on to claim that “a similar study carried out in Norway by Skilbrei et al (2013) which used the same methodology, was also peer reviewed, and reported similar findings to those of the Marine Institute”.

In fact, while Dr Jackson suggested sea lice had little, if any, impact on salmon conservation, the Norwegian study concluded the opposite, showing not just a mild but a moderate effect on salmon conservation.

At no point, either in the heavily criticised original article or the rebuttal to the criticism of his work, has Dr Jackson sought to offer insights into the true impact of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon populations.

The institute’s statement “is supporting research papers produced by Dr Jackson which contradict the vast cohort of science available on the subject, yet backs a government policy to expand salmon farming”, said Save Bantry Bay secretary Alec O’Donovan.

“It seems that in a bid to restore their reputation, the Marine Institute is exaggerating this apology and suggesting other studies back theirs when they do not,” added Save Bantry Bay chairman Kieran O’Shea.

For further details, contact Alec O’Donovan on 087-794 9227 or Kieran O’Shea on 086-128 0303.

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