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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess there will an open season for atlantic salmon this year.

B.C. COAST
Escaped salmon pose threat to wild stock

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

July 3, 2008

VANCOUVER -- Tens of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon escaped from their pen into an inlet off the B.C. coast, a fish farm company said yesterday. If they survive, they could threaten already dwindling indigenous salmon stocks.

Provincial officials are investigating the incident, which happened early Tuesday, and the company owning the farm may face charges. Environmental groups say the mass escape demonstrates the dangers fish farms pose to wild salmon.

Strong ocean currents shifted a net holding 30,000 salmon in Marine Harvest's Frederick Arm farm site near Campbell River, pulling down a corner of the cage and allowing the fish to swim free, said Clare Backman of Marine Harvest. The company is not sure whether any fish were left in the pen, but it's possible all 30,000 escaped.

"One of the anchor lines ... apparently slipped to a low spot on the ocean floor and in so doing pulled down the corner of the cage so much the fish were able to swim out, which is really unusual," he said.

Jennifer Lash, executive director of the Living Oceans Society, said if the Atlantic salmon breed, they'll compete with wild salmon, whose stocks have already fallen sharply.

"You get juvenile Atlantics, they're not indigenous to the coast and they start competing with the wild salmon and they start putting the wild salmon at risk. Everything has to be done to stop having those Atlantic salmon in the ocean," she said. "Any time you bring in an invasive species or a non-indigenous species ... it poses a threat to the existing biological diversity."

The only reliable way to prevent escapes like these is to farm fish in closed-off pens, Ms. Lash said. Environmental groups and Marine Harvest itself have called on the provincial government to finance research into closed-containment salmon farming.

Ms. Lash said the farmed salmon could also carry diseases, antibiotics or pesticides in their systems that could pose a health risk. Mr. Backman said the salmon that escaped were healthy, weren't on medication and had low levels of sea lice, a parasite that has been shown to jump from farmed to wild salmon, killing young wild fry.

He also said the escaped fish would be safe for people to eat if they catch one.

"They should keep the fish, clean it and bake in a 400-degree oven with a ginger and green-onion garnish. Then serve with fresh lemon slices," he wrote in an e-mail.

Farms are required to report escapes within 24 hours. Provincial officials are inspecting the site and will decide whether to initiate a full-scale investigation that could result in charges of negligence against Marine Harvest.

"We're still assessing the extent of the damage, and ministry staff are on site determining the best course of action," Agriculture and Lands Ministry spokeswoman Liz Bicknell said.

"They'd have to see what was in place: What has actually happened? Were the anchors correctly installed? Were they adhering to the licence and tenure agreements? Those are the sorts of things they would be looking for."

Regulations require fish farms to inspect their nets every 60 days and develop plans to prevent and respond to escapes. Possible sanctions include written warnings, charges resulting in fines and revoking the company's licence.

In 2006, Marine Harvest received a warning for failing to report a fish escape. The company was charged with negligence after 1,587 salmon escaped from a Vancouver Island fish farm in July of 2004. The company was acquitted and B.C. Supreme Court rejected a Crown appeal of the acquittal last fall.

"The charges were predicated on the fact that we had knowingly or had not exercised due care and attention leading up to the escape and the judge did not agree with that," Mr. Backman said.

A commercial seine fishing boat started trying to recapture the fish on Tuesday evening. Within the few hours the vessel was out, the crew caught a couple of hundred of the farmed salmon, using a net Mr. Backman said allows them to sort out the Atlantic salmon and throw the Pacific fish back alive.

"It's very unlikely they would catch even more than 10 per cent," he said. "The experience with recapture has been that these fish are hard to recapture - they tend to not school the way [wild] salmon do."

Ocean currents are always strong at this time of year, Mr. Backman said, but he can't remember the last time this many fish escaped: In 2007 the company reported that 10 fish escaped.

Marine Harvest is internally reviewing the escape, which Mr. Backman said probably cost the company about $500,000. "We will be taking every step that we need to, internally, to review our processes and to look at what could have been done to avoid this and we will update our procedures going forward."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com//servlet/story/LAC.20080703.BCESCAPE03/TPStory/National/
 

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Maybe I am a little naive, but why can't people just do what is right for the whole and plan long term? Fish farms make the Gov't money now so they don't managed better. Closed pens may not be the answer, but I have seen enough evidence that the open pens pose a problem that it should be considered. The long term harm to the pacific salmon stocks will be far more costly to the gov't and the people of BC than the short term gains form an open pen salmon farming industry. It doesn't make sense environmentally of financially in the term. Why can't politics be more about doing the right thing than to stay in power by pleasing those that help you get elected?
 

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I really dont think we have to worry much about these fish competing with our Pacific Salmon. I'm pretty sure they will all expire because in my opinion they cannot survive in the Pacific Ocean. Has anyone on this forum ever caught an Atlantic Salmon on the west coast?
Just check the Ministry of the Environment stocking page and count up how many Atlantics were introduced to B.C rivers and lakes in the early 1900's. The numbers are staggering, and to my knowledge nary a one survived to adulthood. Admittedly these stockings took place almost a century ago, long before modern hatchery were introduced, but many of the interior lakes were successfully stocked with Kamloops trout using the technology of the time.
I'm sure there will be many conflicting thoughts on this subject, but I for one am not at all worried about Atlantics taking over any river system. I think we should be more worried about othe non native species before we worry about Salmo Salar.
 
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barkleyjames said:
I think we should be more worried about othe non native species before we worry about Salmo Salar.

I'm not really sure about this but, did you notice that this was about atlantic salmon? Just incase you might have missed it we're on the Pacific Coast making salmo salar a nonnative species and a threat to our native fishes.
 

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barkleyjames said:
I really dont think we have to worry much about these fish competing with our Pacific Salmon. I'm pretty sure they will all expire because in my opinion they cannot survive in the Pacific Ocean. Has anyone on this forum ever caught an Atlantic Salmon on the west coast?
Just check the Ministry of the Environment stocking page and count up how many Atlantics were introduced to B.C rivers and lakes in the early 1900's. The numbers are staggering, and to my knowledge nary a one survived to adulthood. Admittedly these stockings took place almost a century ago, long before modern hatchery were introduced, but many of the interior lakes were successfully stocked with Kamloops trout using the technology of the time.
I'm sure there will be many conflicting thoughts on this subject, but I for one am not at all worried about Atlantics taking over any river system. I think we should be more worried about othe non native species before we worry about Salmo Salar.
Oh yes james there is evidence of the Atlantics taking up refuge in rivers on the west coast. Do a little search about the Salmon river on the Island. You just might be in for a shock. They are indeed spawning. The electro-shocking in rivers on the Island has proven that. Just a little info the gov sweeps under the carpet. :cheers: sage
 
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barkleyjames said:
I really dont think we have to worry much about these fish competing with our Pacific Salmon.

Twelve Atlantic juvenile salmon were found in the Tsitika River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in August and September of this year. (December 23, 1998)

DNA testing conducted at the Pacific Biological Station confirmed the eight additional fish were also Atlantic salmon. There were two distinct size classes apparent in the sample, with mean lengths of 64 mm and 119 mm (fork length), respectively. Additional DNA testing conducted at the Pacific Biological Station confirmed that the two groups of fish were produced by different sets of parents.

The patterns in the daily growth rings from nine of the 12 otoliths taken from the Tsitika fish were consistent with the patterns found in the otoliths taken from the wild fish. Consequently, the evidence suggests that the juveniles were likely a result of two pair of Atlantic salmon spawning in the Tsitika River. The analyst was unable to classify one of the otoliths taken from the Tsitika fish and two otoliths were misplaced.

http://www-comm.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pages/release/bckgrnd/1998/bg980521_e.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
30,000 Atlantic salmon escape farm
Fish are free of disease and antibiotics, posing no threat to wild salmon, official says

Carolyn Heiman
Canwest News Service


Friday, July 04, 2008



CREDIT: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun
Escape of salmon has renewed calls for the industry to move to a closed container system to raise fish not native to the Pacific coast.

A commercial seiner combed waters around Frederick Arm north of Campbell River on Thursday in a vain effort to catch 30,000 escaped farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

The escape was one of the biggest on record for Marine Harvest Canada, the largest aquaculture business in the province.

It renewed first nation, NDP and environmentalist calls for the industry to move to closed containers to raise fish and other marine species not native to Pacific coast waters.

Clare Backman of Marine Harvest Canada, said only a few hundred fish had been recaptured by late Thursday and he was not hopeful too many more would be found.

But he said the fish were disease- and antibiotic-free, posing no threat to wild salmon.

"I can't deny that a few will feed on herring and compete with wild salmon, but they can't mate with them," Backman said.

Early Tuesday, employees at the 12-pen farm noticed that the corner of one pen was dipping into the water, allowing caged salmon, weeks away from being sent to market, to flee into the Strait of Georgia.

Backman estimated the loss of the salmon, around four kilograms each, at $500,000.

Backman said the company has been at the site -- 30 kilometres north of Campbell River and adjacent to the mainland -- for 10 years without incident.

Last September, Mainstream Canada lost 17,000 Atlantic salmon in a similar incident at Clayoquot Sound.

Backman blamed extreme tide variations for causing a concrete anchor to slip down a slope, pulling the pen corner below water level and allowing the escape. He said the company will review the incident and learn from its mistakes.

But Homalco First Nation Chief Darren Blaney said the best intentions won't put an end to the accidental release of Atlantic salmon.

Raising the non-native species in closed containers is the only solution to protecting native stocks from the pollution, sea lice and disease possible from the farmed stock, he said.

Ruby Berry, salmon aquaculture campaign director for the Georgia Strait Alliance, said the industry talks about wanting to move to closed containers but "if they don't have to, they won't. Once they are required to [by law] the change will happen very quickly.

"We want the industry to remain, but we want it to be responsible to the environment and not affect the wild salmon."

Backman predicted the majority of the escaped fish would be eaten by seals and killer whales in the area.

But Blaney disagreed, saying Atlantic salmon have increasingly been found in rivers in the area that are depleted of Pacific salmon stocks. Blaney fears the Atlantic salmon will acclimatize to the streams, permanently affecting Pacific stocks.

The news prodded provincial New Democrats to call for the government to act on recommendations made in the 2007 Sustainable Aquaculture report, including requiring industry-wide containment systems for all aquaculture sites.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008
 
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