Salmon Farms Kill Wild Salmon
And here is how
Salmon farms break biological laws.
Wild salmon are nomads and die when they spawn. This reduces sea lice, bacteria and viruses and keeps the seafloor clean. Salmon farms are feedlots and like chicken farms should be under quarantine not sharing disease with wild fish.
Salmon farmers are the only farmers who never shovel their manure.
They release their wastes to the seafloor through the nets. These nets also let in diseases and parasites. Without predators, natural pathogens multiply in the pens and pour out at levels wild salmon have never experienced before.
The Science is clear – The graphs above show the number of sea lice on young wild salmon in 2002 when the salmon farms near Knight Inlet were stocked, in 2003 when the farms were empty and in 2004 when the farms were restocked. No farm fish = no lice. The same thing is happening in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and eastern Canada.
Sea lice are natural, but the situation is unnatural.
Spawning wild salmon have sea lice, but their lice die of freshwater in the rivers. So by spring there are very few lice to infect the baby salmon as they go to sea. Today, wild salmon infect farm salmon as they swim past. The farm lice breed all winter. In spring, the farms are shedding billions of lice larvae where there should be none. Young salmon are not armored with scales and the lice eat right through their skin.
Why do DFO and the Province deny the science?
In Canada, the oceans are federal jurisdiction. Despite this, fish farms were given to the Provinces to manage in an unlawful 1988 Memorandum of Understanding on the premise that fish farms do not harm wild fish. As a result, the agency in charge of fish farms (the provinces) are not responsible for wild fish and the agency that is responsible for wild fish (DFO) has been stood down on all salmon farm impact. Therefore, when science measures harmful impact of salmon farms on wild fish it threatens government policy and there is no one tasked to deal with the situation. There is no disagreement among non-government scientists – the feedlot environment in fish farms intensifies disease and this is unnatural and dangerous to wild fish of many species. Wild salmon are in exceptional decline everywhere there are salmon farms worldwide (Ford and Myers 2008). This is not a Canadian industry, 92% of B.C. fish farms controlled by Norwegian companies.
B.C. Supreme Court
To deal with this I took Marine Harvest Canada, and government to BC Supreme Court to challenge their arrangement and won. In December 2010 the federal government must re-assume responsibility for fish farms. This means the agency responsible for fish farms (DFO) will also be responsible for wild fish. Unknown to most, provincial fish farms were exempted from all Canadian fishing regulations (Pacific Fishery Regulations 1993). This is why fish farmers can use bright lights that attract wild small fish that their fish can eat. Now that they will become federal fish farms, we must guard against another degradation of the Fisheries Act to exempt fish farms again.
What do salmon farms mean to the Fraser River salmon?
Sea lice are heavily infecting juvenile Fraser sockeye. In 2009, only the Fraser sockeye known to migrate past fish farms vanished. The Fraser River sockeye observed migrating around the south end of Vancouver Island where there are no fish farms (Harrison sockeye) returned in higher than forecast numbers.
This threatens government policy. So immediately after the 2009 sockeye crash was announced the Pacific Regional Director for DFO claimed sea lice from salmon farms were not a factor because the sea lice on farm fish and sockeye are two different species. He failed to note fish farm company Marine Harvest posts their sea lice data and show clearly that their fish are infected with the both sea lice species on the sockeye.
Fish farm viruses and bacteria - also a big threat to Fraser River wild salmon
In 2001, one farm in eastern Johnstone Strait picked up IHN from a wild sockeye. The virus spread to 13 farms. A farm smolt transport vessel passing these farms (yellow line) sucked up the virus and took IHN into the Broughton Archipelago where 6 farms became infected. Smolts carried to Klemtu also became infected. The water pumping through the boat infected 6 fish farms off Port Hardy. From 2001 – 2003 19 million farm fish became infected on the Fraser River migration route. IHN is lethal to salmon and herring. DFO stopped counting Broughton herring after this outbreak. The fish farmers culled some farms and left others in an infectious state for months. The Fraser River sockeye run exposed to the fish farm epidemic returned in 2005 in very low numbers. Yes, IHN is natural, but not at this level. It is the difference between being exposed to a cold from one person on a soccer field vs. sitting in a room with ten people with a cold. *From a paper by Dr. Saksida, Sea to Sky Veterinary Service Campbell
Given the devastating impact of salmon farms worldwide; siting them on every south coast wild salmon migration route was irresponsible at best. I don’t know how this all started, but it is a runaway, changing the laws of Canada to suit its needs at the expense of the wild fish that belong to the public. All these farms need to be removed and wild salmon given top priority if we want them. Alaska never allowed salmon farms and are have record returns.
Threat of imported diseases
According to the fish farm industry and international science, the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus, first identified in Norway, is spreading in Norwegian salmon farms worldwide. At first it was theorized that it spread across the North Atlantic to eastern Canada via wild salmon, but then the current Norwegian strain was found in the south Pacific in Norwegian salmon farms in Chile. Scientists can track strains of fish disease, just like the track H1N1. Research has been published showing that Atlantic salmon eggs have carried the virus and many believe this is how it got to Chile from Norway.
Despite this Minster of Fisheries Gail Shea is allowing Norwegian fish farmers to import Atlantic salmon eggs and equipment from infected areas into British Columbia which is the LAST Norwegian fish farmed area without this disease. ISA virus can infect herring and it’s threat to the entire North Pacific unknown, but we do know that introducing viruses is a very, very bad idea. Minister Shea tells me there is no strong evidence that ISA virus travels in the eggs and refuses even to agree to test every Atlantic salmon facility for the disease.
The potential impact of Minister Shea’s decision is incalculable and will be irreversible should this virus arrive here.