David Sandison, general manager of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), gave a commitment at a February 6, 2018 meeting of Holyrood’ [Scotland’s Parliament]’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee, that the farmed salmon industry would “from hereon” publish data on sea lice and fish mortality.
“From hereon forthwith we will be publishing all data associated with sea lice counts on a farm-by-farm basis.”
Mr Sandison was speaking as a witness at a Scottish Parliament inquiry into the effects of salmon farming on the environment: Mr Sandison told members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs): “We understand and acknowledge that there are gaps in data and we could definitely enhance that further.
He said: “I’d like to confirm for the committee’s benefit and the wider public, the industry has been chasing for a long time now about supplying information on sea lice numbers in the farms in Scotland, and I can confirm that from hereon forthwith we will be publishing all data associated with sea lice counts on farms on a farm-by-farm basis in Scotland. This backs up the decision of the industry SSPO board that was taken in November last year and is now in the public domain.
When asked by committee chairman Graeme Dey MSP why the organisation has made this decision, Mr Sandison said:
“We believe that we need to move the debate forward […] We hear all the arguments, we hear all the background noise, but we want to have a proper, open, honest dialogue about the actual status of farmed sites in Scotland and if we feel, or if people feel, that that data can be of use to the scientific and research community and can move us forward, then fine.
“We have absolutely no problem whatsoever in being completely open and transparent with that data. There’s nothing whatsoever that we wish to hide away.”
Mr Sandison said farm level mortality data would also be published. He added the SSPO was “very happy to look at what we can provide that would help the debate”.