The long term study of sea lice in Ireland by Inland Fisheries Ireland has definitively linked a reduction of up to 50% in returning adult salmon to high levels of lice infestation of farmed salmon in Killary Harbour. This is a real breakthrough in that it is probably the first study to illustrate that fish farming will affect wild salmon returns when lice levels are not managed effectively.
With changing sea water temperatures around Ireland the effectiveness of current protocols are really redundant and the only way to guarantee effective lice management is to surround cages with effective physical and biological barriers. This in effect must be the a system of closed containment. The lice problems are demonstrated to be generally at their worst in the second year of production.
2017 especially the Spring period has demonstrated that weather patterns can cause a multitude of problems with little rainfall causing high salinity levels in bays with warm sunshine elevating sea temperatures which in turn are a recipe for extremely high larval sea lice production.
There needs to be a very serious discussion as to the future of aquaculture and it is essential that wild fish interests are protected.
New technologies are arriving with every passing year but essentially to suit commercial interests. We need a radical re-think by Government on the entire issue and a road map to protect our vulnerable ecosystems.
How great it would be if this industry was effectively run in the interests of wild salmon and sea trout.
We would hope that this report might form the basis of re-visiting of our complaint to the EU.
Further Details: Erriff Report