Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) has welcomed a new report commissioned by the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) into the use of acoustic devices to deter seals from attacking salmon on farms. The organisation described the report findings as “useful in the continuing development of effective and cetacean-friendly ways to deter predators.”
The research was carried out by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the University of Loughborough at one farm in the Sound of Mull.
Anne Anderson, Sustainability Director of SSPO, said:
“For the most part, salmon farms and seals and other mammals co-exist quite happily. But seals can, on occasion, inflict vicious and widespread damage on salmon farms, killing hundreds of fish in each attack. This is upsetting and contrary to farmers’ obligations to protect fish welfare.
“Acoustic devices and different types of netting and net tensioning are used to deter seal attacks. When used correctly ADDs can be an effective management tool. New generation nets are also proving to be successful in farm trials. The particular deterrent method, or combination of methods, used are determined on a site by site basis as part of each farm’s Management Plan and their effectiveness is assessed at each location.
“Companies are continuing to invest heavily in a range of deterrent measures as well as in research studies with the University of St Andrews to refine and enhance acoustic devices which deter seals with the minimum impact on other mammals. The sector will continue to explore ways to protect their fish without disruption to other species.”
The report will be studied by the SSPO and fish farming companies as part of its ongoing fish welfare strategy.
Notes to editors:
- The sector has invested in excess of £6m over the past four years on new nets in addition to other deterrent methods.