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Salmon Farms 'Can Have Significant Impact' On Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Stocks – IFI

19th September 2014
Salmon Farms 'Can Have Significant Impact' On Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Stocks – IFI

#SeaLice - The chairman and board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) have welcomed a definitive review of over 300 scientific publications on the effects sea lice can have on sea trout stocks.

A team of top international scientists from Norway, Scotland and Ireland reviewed all available published studies on the effects of sea lice and have now concluded that sea lice have negatively impacted wild sea trout stocks in salmon farming areas in Ireland, Scotland and Norway.

Previously research was based on individually published studies, but this new review reached its conclusions based on comprehensive studies of the effects of salmon lice from over 300 scientific publications.

The project was funded by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund, which provides investment in Norwegian seafood industry-based R&D with the objective of creating added value for the seafood industry.

The study also examined the potential effect of sea lice on salmon and concluded that sea lice have a potential significant and detrimental effect on marine survival of Atlantic salmon with potentially 12-44% fewer salmon spawning in salmon farming areas.

“These conclusions concur with previously published Inland Fisheries Ireland research on the potential impact of sea lice from marine salmon farms on salmon survival,” said IFI chairman Brendan O’Mahony.

The studies reviewed indicate that salmon farming increases the abundance of lice in marine habitats and that sea lice in intensively farmed areas have negatively impacted wild sea trout populations. The effects of sea lice on sea trout are increased marine mortality and reduced marine growth.

IFI says this new study confirms the evidence collected since the early 1990s in Ireland regarding the impact of sea lice on wild sea trout stocks, particularly in relation to the collapse of Connemara’s sea trout stocks.

The board of IFI reaffirmed that it has consistently called for marine salmon farms to maintain sea lice levels close to zero prior to and during the wild sea trout and salmon smolt migration period in spring.

IFI has also raised concerns regarding the location of salmon farms in the estuaries of salmon and sea trout rivers.

The IFI board says it believes this new review confirms the need for very tight regulation of sea lice levels on salmon farms and raises legitimate concerns with regard to the potential impact of new, large scale salmon farms, proposed along Ireland’s west coast, on salmon and sea trout stocks.

It's expected that regulators will now consider the results of this new review when making decisions on the sustainability and approval of future marine salmon aquaculture licences and the regulation of sea lice at existing sites, so as to ensure no negative impact on salmon and sea trout stocks.

Published in Marine Science
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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