Aquaculture health and welfare during Coronavirus

March 19, 2021 by 1 Comment | Category Aquaculture, Marine Directorate Science

A new science publication has found no evidence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting salmon welfare in Scotland.

The study, which has been published in the Veterinary and Animal Science journal, examined whether sea lice numbers and mortality rates in salmon farms had changed over the three-year period from 2018-2020.

The paper found that monthly sea lice counts and mortality in 2020 were comparable with monthly values in 2018-19 indicating that welfare standards were maintained in 2020, in spite of COVID-19. The report did not look at the economic or social impacts of COVID-19 on aquaculture.

The paper was written by Alexander Murray, Stephen Ives, Ron Smith and Meadhbh Moriarty from Marine Scotland Science.

Dr Murray said:

“It has been widely predicted that the impact of COVID-19 on human health and activity would result in indirect impacts on animal health and welfare, however this study shows no gross evidence of this being the case with salmon welfare in Scotland.

“This is an area we want to explore in more detail and we will be doing further analysis as we receive more data.”


The paper ‘A preliminary assessment of indirect impacts on aquaculture species health and welfare in Scotland during COVID-19 lockdown’ is available to view.

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  • Angus Nicoll says:

    The animal welfare of farmed Scottish Salmon continues to be maintained at a completely unacceptable level.

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