Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1141)

Clare Daly


1141. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the urgent action he has or is taking to counteract out of control sea lice levels at organic salmon farms on the west coast in order to protect wild salmon and trout during smolt runs in view of a document issued by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18504/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The control protocols for the management of sea lice are operated by the Marine Institute on behalf of the State. These protocols are more advanced than those operated in other jurisdictions for the following reasons:

- the inspection regime is totally independent of the industry;

- data obtained from these inspections is published and made widely available;

- treatment trigger levels are set at a low level.

The sea lice monitoring and control programme in Ireland has been acknowledged by the EU Commission as representing best practice.

The document referred to by the Deputy raised a series of specific queries in respect of the control of sea lice at specific aquaculture sites. These queries were formulated by both the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Upon receipt of the document, my Department referred the queries to the Marine Institute for assessment and comment. As part of their detailed and site specific response, the Marine Institute concluded that the measures taken by the salmon farms at each site have been effective in the control of sea lice infestation on farmed Atlantic salmon in the Spring period.

The detailed response of the Marine Institute has been forwarded to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment by my Department.