Salmon and Sea Trout Data Resource - Aquaculture

Salmon and Sea Trout Data Resource

This Salmon and Sea Trout Data resource is intended for use by anyone interested in the survival of  Atlantic salmon and sea trout. The resource will be constantly updated with current salmonid data and scientific papers published. This section deals with salmon aquaculture in Ireland and it's affect on wild salmonid survival.


Sea Lice Data 1995-2017 and Benthic Reports 2015-2016

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Sea Lice

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Sea Lice



Benthic Reports 2015-2016

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Benthic Reports

Benthic reports are furnished to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine for salmon farms in Ireland. These reports examine benthic communities and physical conditions in and around salmon farms in Ireland. Unfortunately no effective research in the wider environment is carried out. Effluent, parasites and food waste are distributed widely and research should be carried out to examine effects in wider environment.

Benthic Reports 2015-2016 Salmon Farms Ireland


Hereunder sea lice data reports from the Marine Institute from 1995-2017 inclusive

Salmon Farms by County

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Licence by County

Here under list of salmon farms and details of licence conditions. It is stated policy that this industry is set for expansion and is being championed as a green responsible industry by the industry and government. It should be noted that these licences do not include any licence condition regarding the use of semi closed or closed containment systems. All these licences are for open net pen technologies which are unsustainable and harmful to both salmonids and the wider environment.

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Open Net

Licences by County

Licences by County

Single Bay Management and Sea Lice Protocol

Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Protocols

The protocols which are in operation to control the salmon farming industry are not based on hard law with little if any enforceable actions at the disposal of the regulatory body. If salmon farms fail to comply with licence conditions regarding sea lice levels or indeed stocking rates there appears to be little if any enforcement options available to the regulatory body and furthermore there appears to be little if any willingness to tackle abuse of the protocols. In recent years many irregularities have been uncovered none more important than the overstocking of a salmon farm in Kerry by more than double the amount of smolts stipulated by the conditions of the licence. The important issue here is that the department appeared not to be legally capable of punishing the owners.

The following protocols are currently in operation in Ireland but Salmon Watch Ireland views with suspicion the governance and implementation of these protocols and really the situation appears to be little more than a set of guidelines which the industry either ignores or implements elements which suit their economic agenda.

Marine Finfish Protocols Ireland

The protocols are interesting and would appear robust but no enforcement actions have taken place except in some very rare cases whereby early harvesting was ordered by DAFM due to sea lice infestation. These actions to harvest fish were taken during a period where an active complaint to the EU by Salmon Watch Ireland was being pursued in regard to the regulation of salmon farming in Ireland. Unfortunately this complaint was not successful. Details of this complaint are included below.

Complaint to EU Commission 2009 by Salmon Watch Ireland



Peer Reviewed Scientific Papers Salmon Aquaculture

Hereunder a selection of papers detailing the various effects of open net salmon aquaculture on wild salmonids and the marine ecosystem. There are also a number of scientific reviews on semi-closed and closed containment salmon aquaculture systems detailing effectiveness against sea lice.

Sea Lice International Review- Effect on Sea Trout

River Erriff Long Term Research Paper Atlantic Salmon

River Erriff Long Term Sea Trout Study

Effect of Sea Lice on Body Condition of Sea Trout

Norwegian Study on effect of SeaLice on Sea Trout

Slice Treatment Salmon Smolt Release Study Western Ireland

M Krkošek analysis on Marine Institute Paper



Marine Institute Papers on Sea Lice Effects

In the interests of transparency the following papers from the Marine Institute are listed below. There are many similarities to the results as outlined in the previous documents but it is essentially the interpretation of the data that Salmon Watch Ireland and indeed the majority of fishery scientists in Ireland and internationally refute  the assertion that sea lice have an irregular and insignificant  effect on the survival of Atlantic salmon.

Marine Institute Smolt Release Study 2013

Reply by Marine Institute to M Krkošek Paper Above

Marine Institute Study Pearl Mussel- Atlantic salmon survival

The papers from the Marine Institute do not adequately address the issue of sea lice infestation on adjacent farms and certainly do not account for grower fish on-site and seem to ignore environmental conditions which might reduce the production of sea lice including reduced salinity caused by excessive rainfall. This may explain differences in survival of treated and non-treated smolts in years of low lice larval production as treated and non treated will not have different survival rates in certain environmental conditions.


Salmon and Sea Trout Data - Heavily infested sea trout Ireland





Closed Containment Scientific Reviews and Coastal Ecosystem Damage from Salmon Farming

The following papers are a sample of peer reviewed publications which outline the potential of closed containment and the damage from open net cage farming on the near coastal ecosytem.

Semi-Closed Containment at Sea

The following studies indicate the strategies and technologies which the industry is following in order to restrict the environmental stressors which have resulted in increased parasite density, disease and to combat the effects of warming oceanic conditions. The predominant issue is that the economic cost of treatment and protection of farmed fish has become expensive and with the industry set for expansion a more environmentally and biological strategy is required. The protection of wild fish appears to be a secondary issue.


Comparative economic performance and carbon footprint of two farming models for producing Atlantic salmon

Closed–containment aquaculture in Atlantic Canada

While all of these technologies are available the industry in Ireland have not engaged in any closed or semi closed technologies.

Ecosystem damage from organic material and chemical usage has been a very contentious issue and by its very nature it is difficult to quantify the damage to the receiving environment. It is evident that open net cage farms do act as a reservoir for disease, parasites and as a source of nutrients far in excess of what could be considered normal in a "functioning wild ecosystem".

While monitoring does take place in the vicinity of the farms it is very difficult to assess the effects and very few studies take place to examine ecological effects in the wider environment. Regarding wild fish it is evident that disease can transfer from farms to a number of species and the effect on crustaceans has been widely reported specifically the use of chemicals for parasite control.

Risk assessment of amoebic gill disease in Norway (Spread of AGD)

Polluting Effects Of Aquaculture Norway

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee Salmon farming in Scotland

Fish Farm Survey Report:SEPA 

Marine Institute- Aquaculture Monitoring