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Minister Connick welcomes improvement in sea lice management on salmon farms

Minister of State (with responsibility for fisheries) Sean Connick TD today published the report of the National Implementation Group established in December 2008 to oversee the implementation of the Strategy for Improved Pest Control on Irish Salmon Farms, published in May 2008. 

Over the course of the Implementation Group's work, the vast majority of sites maintained lice levels below treatment trigger levels and, in all instances when notices to treat were issued, effective treatment plans were put into practice. Arising from the positive results, the report contains a series of recommendations encompassing treatments, disease monitoring and management practices to continue the progress to date. 

Commenting on the report, Minister Connick noted that "Pest control will always remain a challenge requiring active management on any farm. However it is heartening to see that since the introduction of the new Pest Management strategy there has been a sustained reduction in the level of egg-bearing lice on farms in spring time. This illustrates the benefits of co-ordinating efforts between scientists and industry and I commend the participants, including the members of the Group and all salmon farmers who took part in the work, for their mutual co-operation on this issue."

Both the report and the Strategy are available for download from the Publications section of the Department's website. 

Note for Editors

A policy document entitled "A Strategy for Improved Pest Control on Irish Salmon Farms" was developed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in consultation with the Marine Institute and an Bord Iascaigh Mhara in May 2008. The Strategy included a number of recommendations to provide for enhanced sea lice control. Recommendation No. 7 recommended the establishment of a National Implementation Group to oversee the implementation of the Strategy and its recommendations. This Group was established in December 2008 and met five times.

Implementation included the establishment of a working group specifically to progress a programme of work and plans for setting up real-time Single Bay Management (SBM) pilot programmes to implement the Management Cell approach, as outlined in the Strategy, on a trial basis.

An intensive consultation was undertaken with the industry on the proposed programme, which led to the setting up of 2 pilot trial areas tackling high lice levels detected during the course of the Marine Institute run National Sea Lice Monitoring Programme.

The report sets out the findings of the group and in addition gives an update of the situation on the ground, including progress made up to June 2010. The Group set out a number of recommendations to consolidate the gains in pest control achieved in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and identifies areas where further improvements can be achieved.

The membership of the Group was as follows: 

Brendan Linehan, Chair (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

John Corcoran, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Donal Maguire (BIM)

David Jackson (Marine Institute)

Damien O'Ceallachain, RIP (Irish Salmon Growers Association)

Catherine McManus (Marine Harvest Ireland)

Richie Flynn (IFA Aquaculture)

Geraldine O'Donovan, Secretary (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Date Released: 22 December 2010