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SSC release Loch Roag vet document. The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has decided to release a document from veterinary records in order to provide context to the extremely challenging and unprecedented situation experienced in Loch Roag last summer. The sites in question were all fallowed in October 2018, several weeks early to ensure fish health was a priority.

A statement on their website says: “Fish health and welfare is fundamental to responsible salmon farming and intrinsic in our operations.

“Due to unusually high sea temperatures and lack of rainfall at that time, our farm experienced a sudden and significant outbreak of juvenile sea lice – a parasite that thrives especially well in these conditions and which in large numbers can cause damage to fish skin.  Up until that point, these fish had been in very good health and it was distressing for our team to see their stock affected.

“Urgent action was taken by our vets who immediately provided emergency treatment for our fish.   Some of the worst affected fish could not be saved, however, the vast majority responded well to our interventions.

“We are a transparent organisation and are committed to maintaining positive relationships with a range of government and environmental agencies.  We facilitated visits from the SSPCA, the Marine Scotland Fish Health Inspectorate and veterinarians from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) – all of whom we cooperated with fully and were satisfied by the immediate steps taken to remedy the situation.

The report from the APHA said: “The site has experienced a high level of lice infestation, but the fish have been under veterinary supervision and have received suitable treatment in line with the site treatment strategy. I am content that the treatment of the fish at this site has been appropriate and timely.”

SSC added: “We remain fully committed to responsible farming practices, the stringent health management of our stock and working together with the industry and academics to develop sustainable measures to manage health and sea lice challenges. The quality standards we operate under – both regulatory and voluntary – are evidenced by the feedback from the inspections by both the SSPCA and the APHA and the Fish Health Inspectorate.

“We have invested in a number of sustainable measures to manage sea lice in the area, including the introduction of cleaner fish and water treatment ships.  We are continuously monitoring all of our sites and are working closely with academic and industry partners to find sustainable, long term solutions to tackle this industry-wide challenge.

“Salmon farming in Scotland has the strictest procedures of any animal farming in the UK and is continually independently audited by Marine Scotland, Marine Scotland Science and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.”