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BioSS analysis contributes to validate robustness of SEPA Fish Farm survey

Image (c) SEPA
“Open communication and collaboration between specialists in very different areas of science are therefore crucial to establishing a robust body of evidence upon which to base decisions about measures to protect marine life”

A detailed study of the impact of fish farm medicines on Scotland’s seabed, produced by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) - formally part of the James Hutton Group - has been validated by environmental experts and accepted for publication in multi-disciplinary, international journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’.

The technical analysis, titled Negative effects of the sea lice therapeutant emamectin benzoate at low concentrations on benthic communities around Scottish fish farms, confirms the scientific robustness of SEPA's survey results, themselves the culmination of two years' work.

The Fish Farm survey focussed on the environmental impacts from eight Scottish fish farm sites and examined 302 chemical samples from 93 sample stations and 296 ecological samples from across 142 sample stations, to assess the scale and impact of fish farm medicines, emamectin benzoate and teflubenzuron.

Dr David Pirie, Executive Director for Evidence and Flooding at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: "Every day, SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and as an evidence-based organisation, we are clear that sound environmental science is the foundation on which we build our key regulatory standards.

"By submitting the statistical analysis of our survey for rigorous peer review by leading environmental scientists, it confirms the robustness of SEPA’s scientific approach and reinforces the validity of our findings that the existing standards were not adequate for protecting marine life.”

Expert statisticians within BioSS provided specialist guidance on SEPA’s scientific methods and facilitated the development of an improved, robust approach to the analysis of the survey’s data. 

Dr Katharine Preedy, a senior statistician within BioSS, said: “Marine environments have complex interactions and human activity can affect many different aspects of the system.

“Open communication and collaboration between specialists in very different areas of science are therefore crucial to establishing a robust body of evidence upon which to base decisions about measures to protect marine life.”

Read more about the technical analysis and the Fish Farm Survey on SEPA's website, or read the new paper directly from Science of the Total Environment.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/bioss-analysis-contributes-validate-robustness-sepa-fish-farm-survey on 20/10/19 08:06:04 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.