SEPA publish report on the environmental impact of Scottish fish farms

13 November 2018

Article: 52/4508

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published a survey report evaluating a new seabed monitoring approach to investigating the impacts of marine cage fish farms. The report examined the environmental impact from eight Scottish fish farms, with analyse of 302 chemical samples from 93 sample stations and 296 ecological samples from 142 sample stations carried out.

Samples for chemical analysis were analysed for the sea lice medicine Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron, last used in 2013. The medicines were detected in 98% and 46% of samples respectively, with residues more widely spread in the environment around fish farms than had previously been found. Moreover, the research concluded that the impacts of individual farms may not be contained to the vicinity of individual farms.

The research survey was published as part of proposals by SEPA, one of a number of organisations regulating finfish aquaculture, for a revised regime that will strengthen their regulation of the sector. Proposals for regulations that will undergo consultation include:

  • a new tighter standard for the organic waste deposited by fish farms;
  • more powerful computer modelling that will improve our understanding of the risk to the local environment and allow assessment of the larger-scale impacts including interactions with other farms;
  • enhanced environmental monitoring and new enforcement unit;
  • a new interim approach for controlling the use of Emamectin benzoate;
  • a new approach to sustainable sitting of farms in the most appropriate areas where the environment can assimilate wastes.

Further information on the consultation process and details of consultation events are available on the SEPA website

The survey report is also available on the SEPA website

Source: SEPA, 7 November 2018