Scottish Daily Mail

Treat­ment for lice ‘led to 175,000 fish deaths’

- By Xan­tha Leatham Fish Dishes · Agriculture · Seafood · Food · Industries · Marine Harvest · Scotland · Isle of Skye

SCOT­TISH fish farms have ac­ci­den­tally killed thou­sands of salmon by over­heat­ing them while treat­ing them for lice and dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments.

The in­ter­nal memos say that Ma­rine Har­vest killed more than 175,000 salmon across Scot­land.

Cam­paign­ers ac­cuse the fish farm com­pany of in­hu­mane treat­ment of the fish.

In the worst loss – in July and Au­gust at Loch Greshornis­h, Skye – 95,400 fish were said to have been killed by a ther­mo­licer de­vice. This is de­signed to get rid of sea lice on salmon by im­mers­ing them in wa­ter much warmer than they are used to.

A Septem­ber 12 memo from of­fi­cials to Ru­ral Econ­omy Min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing said the ‘sud­den tem­per­a­ture change’ killed 95 per cent of the lice but also caused ‘sig­nif­i­cant mor­tal­i­ties’ among the salmon. An­other 20,000 fish were said to have died at Loch Greshornis­h when chem­i­cals were used to com­bat sea lice. The memos were ob­tained in a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest by Don Stan­i­ford, di­rec­tor of Global Al­liance Against In­dus­trial Agri­cul­ture.

He said: ‘That Ma­rine Har­vest is des­per­ate enough to re­sort to a de­cid­edly dodgy ther­mo­licer shows how deep-rooted the in­dus­try’s dis­ease prob­lems are.’

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Com­pas­sion in World Farm­ing Philip Lym­bery said: ‘Killing fish by over­heat­ing, whether ac­ci­den­tal or not, is sim­ply in­hu­mane.’

Ma­rine Har­vest said the fish lost in the ‘un­for­tu­nate’ ther­mo­licer in­ci­dent were weak­ened by gill dis­ease. Man­ager Steve Bracken said: ‘We re­gret any loss of fish and are al­ways mind­ful of the wel­fare of the fish and aim to con­tin­u­ously im­prove our meth­ods.’

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