Debate continues regarding the effect of sea lice from fish farms

With the massive sockeye run in the Fraser River this year, one might think the criticisms of aquaculture practices having a harmful impact on wild salmon are wrong. Catherine Stewart of the Living Oceans Society disagrees in a Georgia Straight  article. Due to the migration cycle of the salmon, Stewart believes farms may have controlled their own lice problems more effectively one year compared to the previous when the fish were going out to sea, thus explaining the extreme differences in the 2009 and 2010 sockeye runs.

Ian Roberts of Marine Harvest Canada, BC’s largest salmon farming company, maintains his view that farm fishing does not impact the salmon species in question despite the continued criticism. A 2009 report provided by the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue largely supports Roberts’ opinion, with a slight caveat:

“Evidence is largely indirect or circumstantial that sea lice emanating from salmon farms can and do exert detrimental effects on wild salmons.”
However, the report also stated that the “weight of evidence is that sea lice of farm origin can present, in some locations and for some host species populations, a significant threat”. . . . [read full article]

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