THERMOLICER: Staniford’s Scottish Salmon Watch campaign to file challenge “for systematic breaches of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006”

Read in UnderCurrent News (10.07.2018): Campaign group to file legal challenge against Scottish salmon farms’ use of Thermolicer

Don Staniford’s Scottish Salmon Watch plans to file the challenge “for systematic breaches of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006,” he said in a statement.

[…] Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) defended the use of Thermolicer and Hydrolicer treatments in a statement sent to Undercurrent News Tuesday, saying they have been “an effective step to manage naturally occurring sea lice on farms”.

She noted how the most recently published statistics for sea lice on salmon farms show the lowest levels since July 2013.

“…As with all new technologies, there has been a bedding in period and some regrettable salmon mortality events that have been notified to the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate,” Hesketh-Laird said. “Farming companies are learning from their experience of using these new methods of lice control to improve their operation, resulting in improved management of fish health.”

See hyperlink below for full 25-page statement from Don Staniford’s ‘Scottish Salmon Watch’ campaign…

“The Thermolicer and Hydrolicer are torture chambers for fish,” said Don Staniford, Director of Scottish Salmon Watch. “Heating salmon up to 34 degrees Celcius – that’s over 90 degrees Fahrenheit – is a welfare nightmare which must be stopped before tens of thousands more fish die a horrible death. These Heath Robinson contraptions act as monstrous washing machines in a desperate and failed attempt to clean tonnes and tonnes of lice-infested and diseaseridden farmed salmon. No wonder fish are dying due to bleeding brains and head damage.”

‘Mortality Event Reports’ reported between August 2017 and January 2018 included 95,751 deaths in 8 separate incidents due to the Thermolicer and/or Hydrolicer:

  • 45,089 – Scottish Salmon Company: Druimyeon Bay (Sound of Gigha), 13 November 2017
  • 25,607 – Scottish Salmon Company: Druimyeon Bay (Sound of Gigha), 6 November 2017
  • 8,737 – Scottish Salmon Company Sgian Dubh (Loch Striven), 11 December 2017
  • 4,663 – Marine Harvest: Caolas A Deas (Loch Shell), 21 August 2017
  • 4,253 – Scottish Sea Farms: South Sound (Mangaster Voe), 1 January 2018
  • 3,546 – Scottish Salmon Company: Strome (Loch Carron), 30 October 2017
  • 2,652 – Scottish Salmon Company: Gravir (Loch Odhairn), 30 October 2017
  • 1,204 – Scottish Salmon Company: Inch Kenneth (Loch na Keal), 25 December 2017

Another six ‘Mortality Event Reports’ provided no data on the number of dead fish but at least one incident was reported as “over 1% mortality”. The ‘Mortality Event Report’ (1 January 2018) for The Scottish Salmon Company’s salmon farm at Strome in Loch Carron stated that the estimated number of fish lost was “not disclosed” with the: “Company unwilling to disclose the % of the mortality or the number of fish involved. Only the figure is over 1%. Discussions ongoing to get actual figures” (further mortality reports followed on 8 January and 15 January 2018).


Data published by the Scottish Government via Scotland’s Aquaculture database in March 2018 revealed that mortalities on Scottish salmon farms exceeded 25,000 tonnes in 2017 (up from less than 10,000 tonnes in 2011 and just over 5,000 tonnes in 2005):

Note that the increase in mortalities cannot be explained simply as a function of an increase in salmon farming production – in fact the ratio of mortalities to salmon farming production is now the worst ever:

An Excel spreadsheet of the data for mortalities during 2017 and back to 2002 – including graphs summarising the data – is available online…

Source: Scottish Salmon Watch July 10, 2018 25-pages ‘newsletter’/PR: ‘Ban Water Torture on Scottish Salmon Farms – Over 100,000 farmed fish Thermoliced & Hydroliced to death since August 2017