Norway alert on lice

NORWAY’S Directorate for Nature Management and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (Nina) have issued a warning that salmon farming in Norway must be reduced during 2010

The warning is directed to the new Minister for Fisheries, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, a former head of the Norwegian salmon farming association and the owner of a salmon farm.

According to Norwegian press reports, Nina estimates that the current level of fish farming in Norway is six to seven times the sustainable limit. There are now 350 million farmed salmon in pens along the Norwegian coast, implying a sea lice burden of 300 to 350 million.

Sea lice are a major threat to migrating juvenile salmon – and therefore to the survival of wild stocks generally.

The Norwegian Salmon Association has said the situation is “a disaster”. It has also drawn attention to the increased resistance of sea lice to the main chemical treatment being used. They have called for a halt to further growth for the industry.

While the levels of farmed salmon production in Ireland are nowhere near those of Norway, farms do tend to be concentrated in particular areas, according to Salmon Watch Ireland.

The damage inflicted on migrating juvenile salmon by sea-lice concentrations generated by farms has also been researched by Irish scientists, and with conclusions similar to those carried out in Norway and Scotland.

Source: Irish Times

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