The Managing Interactions Aquaculture Project (MIAP) has within it a programme of sea trout post smolt sampling and monitoring to assess lice loads on these fish on the west coast and in relation to fish farm locations. This is currently Scotland’s largest regional monitoring effort investigating the population status and regional trends on the West Coast of Scotland of wild Sea Trout and their interactions with two species of sea lice; Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus elongates.
In 2012, twenty two monitoring sites were surveyed and data from over 1000 sea trout recorded and RAFTS is now able to release the annual report of this work1. This is the second such report published by RAFTS as part of the MIAP. The report shows variable lice loads on wild sea trout across the west coast and confirms that at some sites the sampled fish carried detrimental lice loads above critical thresholds.
This project, and predecessor work carried out as part of the Tripartite Working Group, is critical for developing a better understanding of the interactions between wild fish, sea lice and fish farms on the West Coast. Previous collected data, collected from 2003 – 2009 has recently been published by Marine Scotland Science (Middlemas et al, 2012) in an examination of the evidence of the relationship between sea lice levels on sea trout and fish farm activity in western Scotland2. It suggests that the distance between fish farms is related to sea lice loadings recorded on wild sea trout post smolts. The MIAP surveys are progressively improving the sampling efforts made to collect data by refining the sampling network, reporting and considering the work regionally and standardising some areas of methodology. All MIAP data will be available to further refine our understanding of the relationship between fish farm locations and sea lice loads in wild fish.
1. Full details on the MIAPs annual regional monitoring work, analysis and findings for 2012 can be found in the downloadable report HERE.
2. Full details of the Middlemas et al (2012) can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fme.12010/abstract