SSPO battles Sepa over sea lice treatment
THE Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) is to commission independent research to ‘properly inform’ the discussion about the potential impact of the sea lice treatment Slice. This follows the decision of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) to cut back on the use of emamectin benzoate (marketed as Slice) by 60 per cent. Sepa based its ruling on a 2016 report by WRc, formerly the Water Research Centre and now an independent company providing research and consultancy in water, waste and the environment.
Scott Landsburgh, SSPO chief executive said: ‘Having reviewed the WRc report on the Environmental Quality Standard for emamectin benzoate, published by Sepa, and having taken expert opinion on this, SSPO believes that the report’s recommendations are exceptionally precautionary and that there is a need for further relevant data to ensure proper balance is maintained.
‘With this in mind, SSPO will set about gathering additional environmental information and will commission further independent research designed to fill existing gaps in information.
‘These things will proceed as a matter of urgency.’
Sepa is putting in place an interim regulatory position for new applications that limits residues in sediment of emamectin benzoate. Operators at existing sites are being asked to reduce their application of emamectin benzoate by 60 per cent.
Landsburgh said: ‘Sepa have published a report based on desk research on non-native species in freshwater, regardless of the fact that our salmon mature in marine water.
‘No business can operate successfully in this sort of chaos. If the Scottish government and its agencies want to deter investment, put jobs and economic benefit in jeopardy, this is certainly the right way to go about it.
‘Sepa have introduced immediate regulatory changes with no consideration of the social and economic impact despite being legally required to do so.
‘Slice has been, and continues to be, a critically important tool within the industry’s strategy to protect the health and welfare of farmed salmon.’