Farmed fish health: Scotland's Farmed Fish Health Framework group minutes - November 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 15 November 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Sheila Voas, Chair, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Iain Berrill, Salmon Scotland
  • Oliver Robinson, Brittish Trout Association 
  • John Webster, Brittish Trout Association 
  • Meritxell Diez Padrisa, MOWI 
  • Ronnie Soutar, Fish Vets
  • Heather Jones, Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC)
  • Michael Montague, Scottish Environment Prtection Agency (SEPA)
  • Lorna King, SG 
  • Rob Raynard, SG
  • Charles Allan, Scottish Government, Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI)
  • Vickie Curtis, SG
  • Finlay Bennet, SG
  • Tasha Geddie, Secretariat, SG


  • Alison Hutchins (Dawnfresh),
  • Ben Hadfield (MOWI),
  • Bill Turrell, SG,
  • Donald Carmichael, SG

Items and actions

Sea lice

Marine Scotland (MS) provided an update on forthcoming engagement on reducing the levels of sea lice at which the FHI take action, in line with a commitment to parliament to do so unless there is evidence to the contrary, and more recently the SNP / Scottish Green Party shared policy programme. General discussion focused on the outcomes the policy could be expected to achieve, possible impacts and potential unintended consequences.


SAIC provided an update on the output from the workshop it delivered to identify possible ways forward with regards to non-lethal control of seals. MS confirmed it was considering next steps with the input from SalScot and BTA. There was general discussion of proposals.


  • action 1- SAIC to circulate the list of projects identified through the workshop with additional comments it had received from attendees.
  • action 2- MS Conservation to approach St Andrews University with regards to the work it was undertaking on seal avoidance of renewable energy water turbines to determine any relevance for promoting seal avoidance of farm enclosures.


Mortality analysis by cause

Further update will be provided after the SalScot December Board meeting.

Dissolved oxygen

There was general discussion on what dissolved oxygen data is being collected by various bodies. SEPA advised that it had some coastal data but not a specific site time series, Marine Scotland monitored at 2 sites offshore and fish farms generally record dissolved oxygen levels as part of fish health monitoring - sometimes daily, but vary in their approach. Industry and vets considered 24 hour monitoring was needed to better detect decreases and understand when they arise . In addition enhanced off farm monitoring was needed to better inform movement of water with lower dissolved oxygen. Standardised and more frequent data collection would be helpful.

Water abstraction

No update, carried over to next meeting.

Mortality reporting within official statistics 

MS had discussed variation in mortality reporting between organisations with BTA and SalScot, with a focus on MS production survey and official statistics. It was concluded there was no need to change reporting metrics at present but that MS would review uses of information in the production survey.


Medicines- SalScot had commissioned work to identify anti-inflammatory medicines and should be complete in Q1 2022. This work will feed into VMD and Fish Vets discussions on the use of medicines.

Tere was still lack of clarity over progress on UKTAG emamectin review which was needed urgently. 

Vaccine development was discussed and it was agreed that the action to invite the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and Director of Moredun should be carried over to the next meeting.


  • action 3: SalScotto provide an update on progress made towards publication of analysis by cause data following its December Board meeting
  • action 4: MS, SEPA and SAIC to consider project scope to analyse existing data on dissolved oxygen levels and identify gaps in data collection
  • action 5: MS to consider funding possibilities for companies to promote 24 hour recording of dissolved oxygen levels
  • action 6: MOWI to provide information/give presentation on fresh water abstraction and storage as mitigation by farms in Ireland at next meeting
  • action 7: SEPA with MOWI and Fish Vets to consider flexibility in water abstraction consents in response to specific weather / environmental parameters
  • action 8: MS to report on uses of the information in the production survey by SG
  • action 9: Chair to write to UKTAG and press for progress on the emamectin review
  • action 10: MS to contact Julie Fitzpatrick (Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland Scientific and Director of Moredun) and invite to the steering group

Climate change

Practical climate change projects which can be delivered this financial year (and funding availability) were discussed, including the merits of continuing to progress the outcomes of the SAIC climate change workshop.


  • action 11: MS and SAIC to consider if the work to standardise of HAB related data collection can be progressed this financial year.

Any other business 


  • action 12: MS Aquaculture to update FFHF website page to reflect refreshed FFHF
  • action 13: MS Aquaculture to arrange a visit to a fish farm site for FFHF steering group members

Date of next meeting

31 January 2022.

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