03 March 0211

IFI dismayed with DAFF Sea Lice report

Inland Fisheries Irelands(IFI) scientists warn that the recommendations from the “National Implementation Group Report on a strategy for improved pest control on Irish salmon farms” are disappointing and are insufficient to protect wild salmon and sea trout. The November 2010 report, prepared by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food (DAFF), identifies persistent and serious failures in controlling sea lice in spring, while expressing a desire to eliminate all “unnecessary treatments”. IFI is concerned that any weakening of the current sea lice protocols will lead to a situation where sea lice levels will be allowed to increase and that effective lice management will not be possible. This will impact on our already threatened wild sea trout stocks and could ultimately result in localised extinction of  sea trout populations.

The key disappointing findings are specifically

  1. a number of sites in the West of Ireland are unable to control sea lice during the critical spring period;
  2. the Management Cell approach has failed in two areas over the past two years;
  3. the report does not acknowledge the mandatory requirement for treatment of ovigerous lice at 0.3; and
  4. increases in infestation were not isolated incidences as lice levels breached sea lice protocol levels on ten of twelve inspections in one particular area. These breaches can affect salmon and sea trout migration.

IFI CEO Dr Ciaran Byrne commented that ‘as the statutory agency charged with the protection, conservation and management of Sea Trout, and as the major rationale for the control of sea lice is to protect the “outwardly migrating wild smolts” IFI's absence from the National Implementation Group(NIG) is a serious oversight’.

IFI recommends, inter alia, that the NIG develops a set of standards that will ensure no weakening of the existing protocols. These new standards, when achieved, could facilitate the issuing of waivers for mandatory sea lice treatment. Any proposals to accommodate organic farming which may impact effective lice control should not be considered. IFI, as a key statutory body, along with all stakeholders should contribute to the formulation of any regional management plan prepared by DAFF and this plan must encompass the relevant licence requirements. There is now opportunity to review the location of salmon farms and re-site them to ensure the protection of wild salmon and sea trout while also meeting the needs of the commercial fish farming sector. This should be done as a matter of priority.


Media Enquiries:

Suzanne Campion,
Head of Business Development,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Anglesea Street, Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary.

Tel: 052 6180055 Fax: 052 6123971;
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website: www.fisheriesireland.ie

Notes to Editor

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. IFI will promote, support, facilitate and advise the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling and develop and advise the Minister on policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling.

Sea Trout stocks have been the subject of a number of conservation measures since 1996. From 2001 to 2009 the commercial and angling catch has fallen by 90.55% to only 500 fish. Go to http://www.fishinginireland.info/salmon/conservation.htm for information on current conservation regulations and to http://www.fishinginireland.info/salmon/seatrout.htm for angling information.

National Implementation Group Report on “A strategy for improved pest control on Irish Salmon Farms” was published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in November 2010. The full report can be viewed at  http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/publications/2010/SealiceReportImpGrpNov2010161210.pdf

A policy document entitled "A Strategy for Improved Pest Control on Irish Salmon Farms" was developed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in consultation with the Marine Institute and an Bord Iascaigh Mhara in May 2008. Inland Fisheries Ireland, previously the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards, are the statutory agency with responsibility for the protection of wild salmonids, were excluded from this group.

The report sets out the findings of the group and in addition gives an update of the situation on the ground, including progress made up to June 2010. The Group set out a number of recommendations to consolidate the gains in pest control achieved in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and identifies areas where further improvements can be achieved.