Scottish salmon farmers report over 50 per cent drop in antibiotic use in 2022

Scottish salmon farmers report over 50 per cent drop in antibiotic use in 2022

Photo: Salmon Scotland

A new report published by the UK Government has highlighted a dramatic reduction in Scottish salmon farmers’ use of antibiotic medicine by more than half in the space of a year, farming association Salmon Scotland confirmed recently.

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 since 2021.

The level for pig farming was 71.8 mg/kg and 35.4 mg/kg in turkeys, while the sheep and cattle sectors do not publish full data.

Last year, fewer than one in ten seawater farms used antibiotics – meaning the overwhelming majority of salmon farms did not treat with antibiotics at all. Salmon Scotland said the small number of farms that did so used less than half the amount of the previous year, indicating that the environmental challenges that could be managed through antibiotics had dissipated in 2022.

The amount of antibiotics used last year was only slightly more than when this information was first recorded in 2017.

Scottish salmon farmers continue to publish antibiotic use data covering 100 per cent of the sector.

Salmon Scotland said the salmon sector does not use any antibiotics that have been identified as high priority for human health and there is no trace of antibiotics making its way into the food chain, assuring consumers that they can always eat fresh Scottish salmon.

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