The Scottish SPCA inspected the company’s operations with SSC’s full cooperation after anti-salmon farming activists sent it a video showing lice-damaged salmon, purportedly filmed in a cage at SSC’s Vacasay site.
In a statement released on Friday evening, SSC said: “Following the submission of video footage purportedly of fish at one of our sites on the Western Isles, the SSPCA spent several days inspecting our operations in the area. An inspection of this kind relating to the welfare of our fish is unprecedented, but we cooperated fully throughout.
‘Welfare is fundamental’
“The SSPCA has now confirmed that it will be taking no further action. It was wholly satisfied that as a company, we are taking all possible steps to protect the welfare of our fish and effectively deal with the naturally occurring issue of sea lice. The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) also visited our site this week and, similarly, found that the actions required were already in place.
“Fish health and welfare is fundamental to responsible salmon farming and intrinsic to our operations. We invest heavily in managing the health of our stock.
“The warmer water temperature this summer has impacted the number of incidences of sea lice. However, the video footage is both highly out of context and alarmist. If it is from our site, it was obtained by an individual trespassing.
“We remain fully committed to responsible farming practices and stringent health management of our stock. The quality standards we operate under – both regulatory and voluntary – are evidenced by the results of the inspections this week. Through ongoing investment and innovation, we are working with academic and industry partners to finding long-term sustainable solutions to tackle these industry-wide challenges.”
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We can confirm we were alerted to a salmon farm on the Isle of Lewis.
“Our senior inspector on the islands spent several days investigating the concerns that had been raised and the owners co-operated fully.
“The fish involved have been receiving treatment and all measures possible are being taken to ensure their welfare.”
A spokesperson for APHA said the agency didn’t comment on individual cases, but said: “APHA takes potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously. Where welfare regulations are breached, appropriate action is taken.”