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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09597: Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 2 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what records it keeps of the quantities of sea lice treatment chemicals used in well boats; where those records may be accessed by the public, as they can be for treatments applied in fish farm cages on the Scotland's Aquaculture database, and what assessment it has made of the impact of discharging these chemicals into the sea.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 14 June 2017

Further assessment may be required prior to a licence being issued, on a case by case basis, if a fish farm is located in a designated site (such as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) or Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

In order for a wellboat licence to be issued, a fish farm must possess a Controlled Activities Regulation (CAR) consent from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The permitted discharge volume in marine licences is the same as that in the CAR consent which controls the amount of medicines that can be discharged at an individual fish farm. The Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) and ‘allowable zone of effects’ approach, adopted by SEPA in the regulation of chemotherapeutant discharge, should protect all organisms outside the ‘allowable zone of effects’, defined as the mixing zone around the cages for bath treatment chemotherapeutants. Marine Scotland operates a system of discharge notification, in conjunction with SEPA, to ensure that cumulative discharges (those under CAR consent and Marine licence) do not breach EQS. Both the marine licences and CAR consents are conditioned such that discharges licensed under one licensing regime at a particular site, must not take place at the same time as discharge at that site under the other regime. To ensure compliance with CAR, SEPA conduct a programme of monitoring and evaluation of the use of medicines at each farm.

Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) licenses the discharge of chemotherapeutant from wellboats under the licensing provisions of Part 4 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Licensees are required to provide details of discharge activities which have taken place, including chemical treatment quantities, and Marine Scotland holds such records. Data on quantities of used chemotherapeutant discharged from wellboats under the authority of a marine licence is included in the chemical treatment information provided on Scotland’s Environment and Scotland’s Aquaculture website. However, it does not differentiate between treatment methods.