Scotland is proud to have pioneered the development and application of integrated sea lice management strategies. These strategies take a holistic approach to lice management and control, based on the use of licensed and approved medicines, single year class production, area management, synchronisation of production, and fallowing at the end of the production cycle. (See industry film). More recently, biological control, involving the use of cleaner fish including wrasse, has emerged and this has been added to the list of options available to the farmers.
Being responsible for the care of sentient animals, salmon farmers and their veterinary surgeons have ethical and legal responsibilities to maintain the highest standards of health and welfare of the fish in their charge. Keeping salmon healthy also makes good business sense; well cared for fish grow and perform well.
Underpinning these practical considerations is a broad range of EU, UK and Scottish legislation, including the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act (2006) and the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Acts (2007 and 2013), put in place to ensure that certain minimum legal standards covering the health and welfare needs of all farmed fish are met. Above and beyond this, high standards of good practice on health and welfare and, specifically, the way in which sea lice should be managed and controlled, are set out in the Code of Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture. Thus, Scottish salmon farmers are obliged to meet a wide range of legal and voluntary standards in relation to their day to day activities.
Salmon farmers continuously monitor their fish for sea lice as this provides them with the best information for effective management. It is a legal requirement for farmers to monitor the presence of sea lice weekly and compliance with this legislation is regulated by the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspection Services. Furthermore, compliance with the CoGP requires regular and defined monitoring of sea lice.