The salmon farming industry has awoken from a year of slumber and is on the move. It is expanding getting more drugs and being certified as sustainable... Here is what you can do.
Two new applications have been made by the Norwegian family-owned Grieg Seafood to the Province of BC. Premier Clark is the landlord of this industry, deciding where the farms are put.
The Grieg family has a lot going on, salmon farming is just a small part of their wealth.
These new sites are in addition, to the two new sites applied for by salmon farming giant, Marine Harvest, just the north of Port Hardy. All four of these application have been approved by local First Nations, but without consultation with the Fraser River Nations who depend on salmon that will be exposed to the effluent from these farms. The ocean moves and wild salmon move and so when part of this coast is impacted, the impacts spread far, far beyond the net cages.
I spent ten years tracking juvenile salmon through this region, counting sea lice on them, publishing scientific papers on how salmon farms infect young wild salmon (see my research here). Put simply the more salmon farms, the more lice, and the more impact on wild salmon. As a result of this work and the work of others, we forced the industry to get rid of their lice just before the young wild salmon left their rivers. Unfortunately this is achieved with drugs. We saved the Area 12 Mainland pink salmon stock, but it would appear to be a temporary fix. See hydrogen peroxide below.
The new sites are on important shrimping grounds and in a narrow channel where salmon headed up Knights Inlet rest. Ocean currents can move a particle 10 km in 6 hours here and so what comes out of all these farms wafts out into areas where many southcoast salmon migrate.The salmon farming economy is based on share price, and so it must grow... and grow... and grow. It will never be satisfied, it can't surive if it stops growing. I don't know why we let this happen to this coast.
There is an open house regarding these new sites hosted by the Province of BC for you to voice your opinion about these new sites. It will be held in Port McNeill, at the Blackbear Resort on February 10 4-8 pm. Or you can provide your thoughts online about these two new salmon farms here. Click on the links below and scroll down to the bottom and click on the link. It is very important that you voice any concern that you have, very, very important.
Thousands of people do not want salmon farms on wild salmon migration routes, but Premier Clark can't hear us. Her government is hearing from the Grieg family reps, they have $millions to communicate effectively and widely. It is not a fair fight.
The BC Clark government has approved the use of hydrogen peroxide on sea lice in the Marine Harvest fish farms in Quatsino Sound. Here is the PESTICIDE USE PERMIT.
As I mentioned above, getting rid of sea lice on farmed salmon is a good thing, but the salmon farming industry is losing its drug war with this little parasite. Moving their farms out of the ocean would solve this and many other problems for this industry, but they need to operate as cheaply as possible, so they just keep finding new drugs. Some even use drugs they might have to go to jail for... and still they can't stop the louse.
So they came up with a hydrogen peroxide "bath." Tarps are placed around the pens, the drug is poured in. The sea lice go into shock when the drug gets inside them, fall off the fish and the tarps are raised pouring the drug out into the ocean. The directions state the chemical breaks down quickly, but here is the concern.
Millions of young wild salmon migrate right along and through the pens many are tiny, less than 3 cm long. Their skin is bare, with no scales. If they happen to be alongside a pen as the tarps are lifted their entire bodies and tiny gills will be awash in hydrogen peroxide. Our provincial government has granted these permits with no prohibition against treatments when wild salmon are migrating past. They have no research to show on what this will do to young salmon.
Here is an excerpt from the Province of BC report on this pesticide. Download BC government Hydrogen Peroxide report
It is good for business, so no one cares what happens to wild salmon.
Granted Quatsino is a small area of the BC coast and only a small number of wild salmon could be exposed to the drug, but a lot of money and effort has gone into stocking the Marble River with chinook salmon. Research from UBC reports chinook are more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide than Atlantic salmon. Here is a picture of salmon after treatment with hydrogen peroxide from the DFO website.
Marine Harvest's Marsh Bay salmon farm just became the First ASC certified farm in North America. This farm is across from Port Hardy on the mainland shore, where a large percentage of the Fraser River, east Vancouver Island, Broughton and mainland inlet fish pass on their way to and from the sea. Last year this farm was given a 45% expansion permit. Living Oceans filed an Access to Information Request for the reasons DFO gave for allowing this expansion permit. DFO responded with a 210 day extension on this request. Whatever their reason, they don't seem eager to share it. This farm lost 280,000 salmon last fall, apparently to a "rare algae bloom." But how do we actually know this? Where are the lab results? Scientists have been demanding access to BC farmed salmon for decades for reseach into disease and have been denied.
Here are a couple of the dead salmon from March Bay too far gone for research.
Those of us fighting to protect wild salmon from salmon farms are losing, because we don't have the resources to tell people what is going on here. The province of BC, responsible for granting the new licenses likely think we have given up.
If you haven't given up here is what wild salmon need from you.
- Participate in educating the public who are entering markets that sell farmed salmon CLICK HERE
- Come to Port McNeill on February 10
- Consider donating to my efforts to communicate with the public, after 25 years of this effort, I bellieve only the consumer can inspire this industry to clean up. I have a solid plan on how to do this and a highly skilled crew standing by standing by. We just need the funds to get the message out there. Donate here or on the upper right of this blog.
Not every part of this planet has to be abused for corporate profit does it?
Anybody want to stand up for wild salmon?