Study shows sea lice killing wild salmon

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      A postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University says a new research paper he co-authored trumps “useful” data from previous studies looking at the effects of sea lice on wild Pacific salmon stocks.

      According to Brendan Connors, the paper he cowrote—with SFU professor emeritus Larry Dill, biologist Alexandra Morton, and others—further illustrates how sea lice from farmed salmon are killing wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, off northeastern Vancouver Island.

      The latest paper is called “Effects of parasites from salmon farms on productivity of wild salmon”, and has just been published in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—a scientific journal. It adds to work already undertaken in a 2010 study, included in the same journal, called “Relationship of farm salmon, sea lice, and wild salmon populations”.

      “What we’ve done is we’ve taken the data that they included in that paper, as well as adding to it with a broader consideration for pink salmon populations before the onset of aquaculture, as well as in areas adjacent to where the salmon farming is going on,” Connors told the Straight by phone from his East Vancouver home. “So these are important control populations, if you will. And when we include all the available information that we have, we come to a very different conclusion.”

      Connors noted that the mortality for pink and coho stocks ranged from 88 percent to one percent and 92 percent to two percent, respectively, depending on the levels of sea lice.

      The paper’s abstract states: “Our results show that sea lice abundance on farms is negatively associated with productivity of both pink and coho salmon in the Broughton Archipelago. These results reconcile the contradictory findings of previous studies and suggest that management and policy measures designed to protect wild salmon from sea lice should yield conservation and fishery benefits.”

      Connors said he will appear before the Cohen commission on Fraser River sockeye this week and next Monday (August 29).




      Aug 23, 2011 at 5:09pm

      But wait, the Coalition of Salmon Farming Morons has told us not to believe everything we read on the internet...they even have TV commercials telling us how stupid it would be to believe that salmon farms are harmful to the wild species. No way. It can't be!

      Ivan Doumenc

      Aug 23, 2011 at 7:01pm

      Riveting day today at the Cohen Commission!

      (this is the commission inquiring in the decline of the 2009 sockeye salmon)

      Lawyer Greg McDade, who represents Alexandra Morton, brilliantly exposed the weaknesses of Dr. Michael Kent's work, who contends that there is no strong link between salmon anemia and the decline of the Fraser sockeye.

      This coming Wednesday and Thursday are two other huge days at the Commission, as "muzzled" DFO researcher Kristi Miller is called to the witness stand.

      Cohen Commission
      701 West Georgia St., Vancouver, 8th floor
      Wed. August 24 and Thu. August 25
      10:00AM - 12:30PM and 2:00PM - 4:00PM

      Ivan Doumenc

      Aug 23, 2011 at 7:13pm

      Sample from today's exchange at the Cohen Commission between Alexandra Morton's lawyer Gred McDade and scientist Dr. Michael Kent:

      McDade: Let's just be clear. You didn't spend any time studying the role of fish farms in the causation of disease.

      Kent: I disagree.

      McDade: Did you look at the fish health database?

      Kent: Which database is that one?

      McDade: That's the actual report that fish farms make to the Province around fish health. Did you look inside those documents?

      Kent: Only this morning.

      McDade: Did you have them when you did your report?

      Kent: No.

      McDade: wouldn't that be relevant to your report, if there are diseases all over those spreadsheets?

      Kent: It would be useful.


      Aug 23, 2011 at 7:25pm

      so this is why the new commercials are running? "without fish farms the growing human population will have no access to salmon"

      where are all the wild things?

      Fish farms should have been done with a long time ago, vast amounts of research proved sea lice were distructive to wild populations many years ago and here we are, not even a step ahead.


      Aug 23, 2011 at 8:05pm

      This story lacks any indication of a full statistical analysis of the collected data. There appears to be a strong correlation between sea lice and wild salmon mortality, but be aware that correlation does not mean causality. My first statistics prof illustrated that idea thusly:
      rye + water = hangover
      scotch + water = hangover
      bourbon + water = hangover

      It is therefore self evident that water causes hangovers.


      Aug 23, 2011 at 9:00pm

      Sponsored by Tides Canada? LOL

      Blair James

      Aug 24, 2011 at 4:08am

      Don't we know by now that any type of large farming operation is going to have a negative effect on the surrounding environment? Time for a reassessment, redesign and implementation of all farming practices. The problem is, while many know it's time for action, politicians just don't have the guts. (Maybe the sea lice ate them, they're so slimy they could easily be mistaken for salmon.)

      David Morrison

      Aug 24, 2011 at 8:23am

      What a crock of BS.
      Just like tree huggers these hippies have nothing better to do with their time than disrupt progress and threaten much needed jobs.
      The biggest threat to wild salmon is native nets in the rivers and sporties that limit out two maybe three times a day. Take a trip to Port Alberni to wittness the carnage. Seiners should also be banned and only allow trollers, I have never seen such utter waste of non targeted species.


      Aug 24, 2011 at 10:09am

      Open net farming must go. Only government legislation to closed containment farming system will force these companies to go.

      Companies from Norway and even from BC should not be permitted to use the Ocean as a waste dumping ground.


      Aug 24, 2011 at 1:42pm

      Don't forget, sushi-loving Vancouver, this shitis your cheap sashimi and salmon rolls. Check your dog food ingredients too!!