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Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill - Consultation Document

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ANNEX A: RECOMMENDATIONS OF HEALTHIER FISH WORKING GROUP RELATING TO SEA-LICE DATA

Industry has already stated a robust methodology for counting, frequency and intensity of counting, seasonal threshold lice burdens and recommended practical action. For SSPO members this is subject to external audit; for Tripartite Working Group ( TWG) Area Management Agreement ( AMA) participants this data is often openly provided & subject to stakeholder review on a site by month & by treatment basis.

Of critical interest to neighbouring sites and businesses is that treatments designed to bring about compliance with the Code should be successful. Non-efficacious treatments are reportedly rare but where they occur they represent a threat to continued sea-lice control within a management area. It is possible, while not inevitable, that serial "failed" treatment indicates an underlying de-sensitivity to applied medicines. TWGAMA stakeholders are already provided with treatment efficacy data but not all farming areas subscribe to the AMA process and the quality of data released varies.

It is proposed that successive delousing efficacy failures should require a mandatory notification to MSS. Failure is defined as two successive treatment efficacies of less than 50% Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Leps, all stages) removal.

It will be necessary to agree:

(i) Baseline lice burden: "the site average Lep burden the week preceding treatment"

(ii) Post treatment burden: "the site average Lep burden a week post treatment"

(iii) Cages sampled pre & post treatment to be identical (as far as practical)

(iv) Lack of efficacy must be reported regardless of the delousing medicine used

(v) Efficacy calculation to be the % reduction in site average Lep

(vi) The operating company must have formally allocated responsibility for the review & reporting of sea-lice efficacy data to a named individual.

(vii) Reporting of two successive non-efficacious treatments (as defined above) to be made within 14 days of the second treatment.

This proposal is in no way intended to replace the voluntary Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme ( SARS) operated by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate ( VMD), which serves wider purposes than that focussed on here. Nevertheless a range of information provided to the VMD under SARS should be of interest to MSS and we would encourage the development of links between the organisations where appropriate.

Alongside the above requirement to report, the SSPO is developing a database system to allow it to gather information on sea lice. This will have two purposes:

  • Firstly, the analysis of data submitted by companies on a farm by farm basis will be used to provide information and support for those currently involved in, and in the process of developing, FMAs in order to improve the flow of information within and between areas and to provide early warning of potential problems with e.g. the efficacy of treatments. This will also provide an overview of the sea lice situation across the industry as a whole. The data provided to SSPO will be covered by confidentiality agreements and raw data will not be available other than to the companies providing it and the SSPO. Processed data, showing patterns and trends, will be supplied to those involved in FMAs, most probably through area coordinators.
  • Secondly, the database will allow the publication of information which might be of interest to external stakeholders and the general public. Information on mean sea lice numbers and related information across six areas of Scotland will be published on the SSPO website. When live, the system will include data gathered from the beginning of January 2010. The database will be extended to include other important industry information covering fish health and other aspects of production in due course.