In so far as I have a function in this matter, it derives from my role as licensing authority for all fish farm operations governing their location, management, fish husbandry and production parameters. The use of all veterinary medical products is quite seperately regulated under legislation administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, while the National Drugs Advisory Board is the competent product licensing authority under EU and national legislation.
I am advised that Ivermectin is authorised and freely available worldwide for use in the livestock industry and indeed as an antiparasitic agent in human medicine with a record of safety. I am further advised that an application for its product authorisation as a fish medicine has not been lodged to date. I consider that on balance it would be a helpful development if evaluation of the compound's efficacy as a treatment for sea lice were continued and intensified with a view to proceeding towards a product licence application which could be considered by the relevant authorities. I would stress, however, that I have no direct influence in this process.
The extent to which there is responsible use of applied treatments and preventative medicine in fish management can be gauged by residue testing programmes of the final product. I am advised that in an ongoing programme of representative sample testing, using state of the art technology and to the strictest limits of detection, no threshold residues of Ivermectin have been found in samples of Irish farmed fish offered for sale. I am sure the Deputy is aware that Irish farmed salmon production is governed by a quality assurance scheme which lays down strict standards for husbandry, harvesting and withdrawal times for all treatments. As a result Irish farmed salmon enjoys the highest reputation in markets abroad.