Fish farm escapes lightly over unlicensed pesticide

A Scottish fish farming business has been prosecuted successfully for using an unlicensed medicine, ivermectin, to control fish lice. The company failed to record use of the chemical, breaching the terms of its discharge consent. But the modest fine of £500 imposed by the court yet again raises questions about the efficacy of the Scottish prosecution system in bringing environmental offenders to book.

The case stemmed from reports received by Highland River Purification Board (HRPB) that ivermectin, a veterinary medicine licensed only for the treatment of flukes in sheep and other livestock, was being used to kill fish lice on salmon. The HRPB responded by sampling fish in Wester Ross Salmon's fish cages in Loch Glencoul, near Lochinver, in January 1992.

Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, the company's fish cages are considered t

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