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Article from CBC news;

Parasitic sea lice found in salmon farms are driving nearby populations of wild salmon toward local extinction, according to a scientific paper published Thursday.


A young pink salmon infected with sea lice.
(Courtesy of Alexandra Morton/Science)
Researchers from the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University and the Salmon Coast Field Station in Echo Bay, B.C., said that if outbreaks of sea lice continue at their present rate, the population of wild pink salmon will drop 99 per cent in four salmon generations, or about eight years.

Martin Krkosek, with the centre for mathematical biology at the University of Alberta, said the rate of decline is so steep "it's arresting."

"Something has to happen immediately to turn this situation around," he said in a podcast accompanying the study, which was posted online Thursday in advance of Friday publication in the journal Science.

Krkosek said salmon farms are prone to infestations of a parasitic crustacean called Lepeophtheirus salmonis, or salmon lice. Salmon lice attach themselves to the exterior of pink salmon and feed on surface tissues like skin, blood and muscle and can cause stress, viral or bacterial infection and ultimately death, the authors said.

In wild pink salmon populations, the fish aren't normally exposed to salmon lice until they enter the ocean, two to three months into their lives, Krkosek said. But since salmon farms are often found inland, the young pink salmon are exposed at an earlier age, when they are less able to handle the parasites.

Using a mathematical model of population growth rates, Krkosek and his colleagues showed that salmon lice from farms are driving the wild pink salmon to local extinction.

"If we wait another 10 years to get more data, based upon what we're seeing right now, the fish are going to be long gone," he said.

The study is the latest to paint a bleak picture of wild pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago, the group of islands and inlets off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.


Wild pink salmon routes in the Broughton archipelago (red), and salmon farms (black).
(Courtesy of Alexandra Morton)
The group looked at populations of wild pink salmon from 1970 to the present in 71 rivers: 64 where wild salmon populations were not exposed to salmon farms and seven where the fish had to pass at least one salmon farm.

In 2005, Krkosek and colleagues published a study in the London-based journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, arguing sea lice populations were exploding off B.C.'s coasts.

Last year, marine ecologist John Volpe of the University of Victoria said in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that sea lice from fish farms kill up to 95 per cent of juvenile salmon that pass by.

The issue, said Krkosek, is the free exchange of parasites and bacteria between open-net farms and the area outside the farms. He suggested moving farms from migration routes and moving to more closed containment of fish farms, replacing net pens with actual physical barriers.
 

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Very bad. I've always thought the farms should be shut down altogether or moved like they said into spots with physical barriers and definitely away from any migration routes.

The current government doesn't seem to want to address this and in fact more farms have been allowed to open.
 

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I think farming can work with the proper management and environmental protocalls. The way they have it set up right now however needs to be changed immediately. That study had better get the attention of the government. That is really sad to see. Good on those researchers for making the connection. That might be the evidence necessary to change some minds higher up. We can only hope.
 

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Government does not act on reports, even from such prestigious publications as SCIENCE where this report was originally released. If you want the Government to do anything, they only way that will happen is if you write them, get your friends and family to right them, get your dog named spot to write them! Unless the Government sees there are local warm blooded people (i.e. VOTERS) behind this cause they will quietly let it die like they always do. I strongly urge all of you, if you really care about this issue as you seem to, WRITE YOUR MP! Write the Environment Minister and write the Premier. That's the only way anything will ever get even the APPEARANCE of action from our beloved Government.

My two bits.

RR
 

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I have a question for some of our statisic keen members. After watching the reports on the news this last week and reading them in the paper I found myself a little puzzled. I do understand that export monies are the main motivators in this market and that they are sponsored by some very influential people in this province. If this continues in the same direction it is going and salmon stocks are forced into extinction does that not create a huge financial loss in sportfishing and tourism revenue for the govt?. What I am looking for is, does anyone know the actual figures of money earned by the province or the sector for that matter as compared to what does the west coast, salmon supporting river contribute as revenue or where I could find them?. :confused:
Cheers,
Crazy D
 

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Your right on there Rick, they are definately trying to push that route. I guess all th right pockets have'nt been padded yet :(
CD
 

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RiverRat said:
Government does not act on reports, even from such prestigious publications as SCIENCE where this report was originally released. If you want the Government to do anything, they only way that will happen is if you write them, get your friends and family to right them, get your dog named spot to write them! Unless the Government sees there are local warm blooded people (i.e. VOTERS) behind this cause they will quietly let it die like they always do. I strongly urge all of you, if you really care about this issue as you seem to, WRITE YOUR MP! Write the Environment Minister and write the Premier. That's the only way anything will ever get even the APPEARANCE of action from our beloved Government.

My two bits.

Governments only think four years ahead, so they get elected again. There are so many problems here on the coast that it's to feel pretty negative about the lack of political support. Everything from fish farms to bi catch issues by commercial and native fishers fishing the skeena run. Can't give up though, I agree, stay vocal!

RR
 

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vicsteve said:
RiverRat said:
Government does not act on reports, even from such prestigious publications as SCIENCE where this report was originally released. If you want the Government to do anything, they only way that will happen is if you write them, get your friends and family to right them, get your dog named spot to write them! Unless the Government sees there are local warm blooded people (i.e. VOTERS) behind this cause they will quietly let it die like they always do. I strongly urge all of you, if you really care about this issue as you seem to, WRITE YOUR MP! Write the Environment Minister and write the Premier. That's the only way anything will ever get even the APPEARANCE of action from our beloved Government.

My two bits.

Governments only think four years ahead, so they get elected again. There are so many problems here on the coast that it's to feel pretty negative about the lack of political support. Everything from fish farms to bi catch issues by commercial and native fishers fishing the skeena run. Can't give up though, I agree, stay vocal!

RR
There is a sticky at the top of this forum that gives you the access to your MP and MLA addresses and a short letter you are encouraged to copy and send off to your representatives in the legislature and parliament. we love to p*** and moan about all these issues, but there have only been 3 or 4 members here who have indicated they would even bother to copy the letter and send it off to their MP and MLA. For any of you that haven't read the post, or done anything except bemoan the fate of the resource, please take the 5 minutes from your day it takes to send off an email to your appropriate member. THE WORK'S BEEN DONE FOR YOU ALREADY.
 

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Howdy,

If you guy's haven't figured it out yet, clicking-out protest emails to MLA's or other Government agencies accomplishes dick.

WAKE-UP! THE PEOPLE IN GOVERNMENT WHO CAN ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE NET-PEN SITUATION IN BC - ARE 'IN-BED' WITH THE FISHFARMER'S!

As 'Prof' pointed out, indeed many seem to bitch & moan about the issue then sit back and do nothing about it.

The evidence is in. You have had ample time to decide whether you are 'for or against' this industry.

If you are okay with it, that's your decision; yet, if fishfarming does indeed play a huge role in demise of our West Coast Pacific Salmon stocks - and you did nothing to stop it - then I suppose you will have to live with that, and if you can do that then you'll probably be just fine.

If you are not okay with it, because you know the industry is WRONG for BC, WRONG for our Coastal marine ecology & fish & wildlife, and that your Government is WRONG in supporting them, yet you continue to do nothing about it - how can you look in a mirror each day without wincing at the sight of yourself?If you have children, what sort of message are you sending them?

"Gee...Son, we're messing with your fish and I could care less..."
"Well... the Government says it's okay - so it must be okay then, right Son?"

Gag me with a spoon!

For a long time I, too, have sat back on the sidelines watching and listening. I was hoping that perhaps logic and science and common sense and public opinion would prevail, and this menace would suddenly dissappear from our Coast forever...

But guess what: It's not happening. The industry is growing, as is the known burden it places squarely on the backs of our beloved Wild Pacific Salmon.

I'm a BC Sportfisherman and I'm finally standing up and doing something about this travesty in the works.

"I'm leaving Wild Salmon for my Kids!"

Join me and together we'll - 'Punt' the fishfarmers!


Join the BC Sportfisherman's Alliance: War on fishfarming!


Sincerely,

Terry Anderson

Victoria, BC
 
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