Wild fish population charity to monitor and audit Loch Duart’s sea lice counts

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Fisheries Trust says it will be able to comment objectively on the quality of lice data.

In a press release, the Scottish salmon farm Loch Duart writes that it has just agreed a programme with the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust (WSFT) for the monitoring and auditing of its weekly sea lice count activities and the resulting data.

Loch Duart has some of the oldest salmon sites in Scotland from their base in Sutherland, North West Scotland. Badcall Bay, home to their head office, has been farmed since 1975.

The WSFT, established in 1996 to monitor and protect wild fish stocks, uses scientific programmes and guided fishery management plans on wild salmonid populations in the area.

Loch Duart partnered with the Fisheries Trust in 2018 on the sea trout tracking project in Loch Laxford and is now inviting Trust biologists onto their sites to monitor the farmed stock health checks, involving sea lice monitoring.

“This independent audit fits Loch Duart’s policy on stewardship of the environment and transparency to local stakeholders,” stated Loch Duart managing director Mark Warrington.

“The initiative is a continuation of our support for all bodies involved in caring for the local environment,” he said.

“We believe that being able to observe routine sea lice counting on a regular basis on-farm sites will allow us to comment objectively on the quality of the lice data that is being submitted,” said Fisheries Trust senior biologist Dr Shona Marshall.

“It will also help us to better understand what is happening in our sea lochs and what the level of potential lice impacts on wild fish might be,” she added.