Salmon and sea lice

Salmon and sea lice

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We haven’t seen the report by the Trout and Salmon Conservation Trust but are deeply saddened and shocked at news of the death of these fish.

All Scottish Salmon Company farms left the RSPCA Assured scheme at the end of 2016.

On choosing to leave the scheme, the Scottish Salmon Company would have had to stop producing salmon carrying the RSPCA Assured label and the retailer they were supplying was written to advising them they could no longer sell salmon from this producer with the RSPCA Assured label.

All reports of animal welfare problems on RSPCA Assured farms are taken extremely seriously and any incidents reported to us are fully investigated as soon as they are brought to our attention.  

However, in this case, unfortunately we were not made aware of the mass mortalities and therefore were unable to take any action at the time.

Sea lice are naturally occurring parasites which present a biological challenge to farmed Atlantic salmon.  Therefore it is important that all measures are taken by salmon producers to reduce the risk of sea lice infestations.

The RSPCA welfare standards, used by RSPCA Assured salmon producers, request adherence to the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 which covers the treatment of sea lice.

In addition RSPCA Assured members must develop their own comprehensive integrated ‘wild animal’ management programmes, as part of their mandatory Veterinary Health and Welfare Plans.


We are working closely with RSPCA Assured members and academics in this country and abroad to look at new ways to better control sea lice

We are also developing standards relating to using wrasse and lumpsuckers – known as ‘cleaner fish’ - to control lice on salmon.  

These fish live with the salmon and eat the lice off them. These standards will be published in late 2017.