Grieg lice num­bers down nearly 90%

Fish Farmer - - News -

SHET­LAND based Grieg Seafood has recorded a drop of nearly 90 per cent in num­bers of adult fe­male sea lice over the last year.

Man­ag­ing direc­tor Grant Cum­ming said a va­ri­ety of fac­tors, in­clud­ing new farm­ing meth­ods and colder sea tem­per­a­tures, had helped to cut num­bers of the par­a­site.

Grieg Seafood har­vested 1,201 tonnes dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2018 in its re­gion, which in­cludes the isles as well as Skye, com­pared to 1,293 tonnes the pre­vi­ous year.

‘We pro­duced a loss for the first quar­ter, which is dis­ap­point­ing, but we had a very low harvest vol­ume, which is the main rea­son for show­ing a loss,’ Cum­ming said.

But there was an 87 per cent re­duc­tion in adult fe­male sea lice in Shet­land com­pared to the first quar­ter of 2017.

‘We’re mak­ing a lot of changes to how we farm fish,’ said Cum­ming, who re­cently ap­peared be­fore the Scot­tish par­lia­ment’s Ru­ral Econ­omy and Con­nec­tiv­ity com­mit­tee, as part of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into salmon farm­ing in Scot­land.

He ex­plained to MSPs that he had con­sol­i­dated Grieg’s oper­a­tions, re­duc­ing the num­ber of ac­tive farms, to help bring lice num­bers un­der con­trol, and cre­at­ing longer fal­low pe­ri­ods,

‘But in ad­di­tion to that, be­ing able to treat our sea lice with fresh­wa­ter has made a big dif­fer­ence to us too,’ he told Shet­land News. Cum­ming added that the sea in and around Shet­land has been colder than the last four or five years, which has stunted the growth of lice. He said they are

also us­ing ‘a lot of cleaner fish’.

‘And most of the sites are be­ing stocked as well with some­thing called a sea lice skirt, which is a six me­tre deep tar­pau­lin which goes around the pen.’

Above: Grant Cum­ming

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