Scottish salmon farms see antibiotic use halved
A new report published by the UK Government has highlighted that since the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of antibiotic medication by Scotland's salmon farming companies has decreased by more than half.
The new Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report shows that 2022 usage of antibiotics in salmon was 18.6 mg/kg, down 24.5 mg/kg (57%) from 2021. This compared to the level for pig farming which was 71.8 mg/kg, and 35.4 mg/kg for turkeys. Sheep and cattle sectors do not publish full data.
Salmon Scotland further stated that less than one in ten seawater farms used antibiotics in 2022, indicating that the majority of salmon farms did not treat with antibiotics at all, and the small number of farms that did use them did so at a rate of less than half that of the previous year. These statistics suggest that the environmental problems that were previously manageable with antibiotics had significantly reduced. Salmon Scotland's trade body's head of technical, Dr. Iain Berrill, stated: "As part of our commitment to transparency, we aim to reduce use as low as possible to give consumers full confidence when they enjoy one of the most nutritious and tasty foods we produce in Scotland.”