Tag Archives: fish farm

Cohen Commission Told Fish Farms Likely Contributed to Sockeye Decline!


From the Times-Colonist – Jan 20, 2011

by D.C. Reid

Two weeks ago I summarized what scientists think are the main
questions to investigate in the 2009 Fraser River sockeye collapse.
Sixty-eight experts and observers did a heavy dose of considering and
submitted their report to the Cohen Commission. They have contributed
testimony to the evidentiary hearings, too, and this column tells you
what they said, and other factors.

Among nine hypotheses, they
crunched the available science from the early 1980s up to 2010 and each
participant opined which he/she thought were likely causes. They found
that where the fry were hatched and resided for two years and then
swam all the way down the Fraser River were unlikely to have produced
the massive kill. In 2007, for instance, the Georgia Strait sockeye
seine found only 157 fry from the huge Chilko River area cohort of 139
million fry that started out. And, surprisingly, millions of fry,
particularly the Harrison, take up residence in the Fraser plume, and
so its entire Lower Mainland contaminants don’t kill sockeye.

the ocean, it turns out that it is unlikely that marine mammals ate
them all, even though they snack on chum at the Puntledge River
estuary. Nor did unauthorized fishing outside our 320-kilometre
territorial waters account for losses. Later, up-river migration of
adults — as much as 600 kilometres — seems not to have killed many
returning adults either, nor affected the health of the next year’s fry
they spawned.

So what did they find? The most likely causes are:
marine and freshwater pathogens like viruses, bacteria and sea lice;
ocean conditions and a huge negative algal bloom inside Georgia Strait;
outside waters were ruled out for 2007-2009. Georgia Strait
conditions of algae, oxygen, salinity, acidity or other physical and
biological conditions are seen to have long-term negative effects on
survivability, though these conditions are not prevalent every year.
And this may help explain the 2010 bumper crop that no one expected;
and why Harrison River sockeye that transit Juan de Fuca have been
growing in numbers steadily for the past 20 years, contrary to the

Though the scientists thought pathogens were a big
negative factor, more science is needed to absolutely nail these down.
But it seems to be — wait for it — fish farm issues, say, sea lice,
and viruses. Environmentalist Alexandra Morton has asked the commission
to compel the farms to release data that they have been withholding.
It is the virus situation that is the nightmare scenario: farmed
Chinook salmon likely passed a salmon leukemia retrovirus to the farmed
Atlantics and they infected the returning sockeye adults. This is DFO
research from Dr. Kristina Miller. The sockeye managed the long swim
upstream only to die prior to spawning.

Another scientist,
Michael Kent, studying viral transmission, reviewed work that has shown
this fast mutating bug can infect dogs, sheep and humans. This is the
nightmare. Make sure you cook your Fraser sockeye well, and send a
letter to Gail Shea saying: fund more of Miller’s research, toute de

This is a fascinating, heavy crunching science report. If
you read only one table in your investigation of this issue, let it be
E-2. This table summarizes all the research for or against a possible
explanation and will inform your understanding of salmon science for
the rest of your fishing days:

Read article at TimesColonist.com


Building Future of Salmon Farming… in 90 Sec


On January 14, 2011, Agrimarine Holdings Inc. completed primary construction and installation of the world’s first marine closed-containment salmon farm (it has several freshwater-based tanks already in operation in China) at Middle Bay, near Campbell River. The event was the culmination of years of research to develop a more sustainable form of salmon aquaculture that – unlike the open net pen farms that dot BC’s coast – doesn’t dump its waste into the marine environment, and will minimize the transfer of parasites and pathogens between farmed and wild fish. Damien Gillis has been documenting the construction for Agrimarine and here condenses a two-week process into this 90 second time-lapse video.

The tank’s fibreglass and steel base is first mounted on a barge – which is then temporarily sunk in order to float the base. The buoyant base is pulled to the dock by tug boat, where the construction team begins bolting 24 fibreglass wall sections atop it. The completed tank is then tugged into place off the dock and attached by eight heavy-duty ropes to an underwater grid anchored to metal piles. Once secured, a 12-inch plug is removed from the bottom of the tank. Over the next two hours, water fills the tank as it sinks until mostly submerged. The top of the tank is suspended above the surface by foam-filled flotation cubes, attached beneath the top ring of the tank.

The company is now set to fill the tank with a first batch of Chinook salmon, and will soon be adding three more tanks to its Middle Bay operation.


B.C. fish farms blamed for sea lice in new report


From CTV.ca – Dec 24, 2010

VANCOUVER — Another salvo has been fired in the battle over sea lice at fish farms on the B.C. coast.

Just a week after a report was released clearing sea lice in the
collapse of the pink salmon run in 2002, an environmental group is
pointing to a new report that it says shows fish farms make the sea lice
problem worse.

Watershed Watch quotes a study by a New Zealand professor who looked
at the growth of sea lice on two salmon farms in the Broughton
archipelago on the central B.C. coast, which is on the migration path of
juvenile wild salmon.

The environmental group says the study found that farmed salmon can lead to a sharp increase in sea lice in coastal waters.

Read full article here


New Federal Rules Welcomed by Fish Farmers


New rules welcomed by fish farmers

But environmental groups say federal government has fallen far short of what is needed

farmers are welcoming new federal fish farming regulations and say
they will help streamline aquaculture operations, but environmental
groups say they are seriously flawed.

The new rules were posted
this week by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is
taking over oversight of aquaculture from the province.

Friday, federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and provincial Agriculture
Minister Ben Stewart signed a memorandum of understanding in
preparation for a Dec. 18 handover.

The move follows a 2009 B.C.
Supreme Court decision that aquaculture is a fishery and so
responsibility for regulations lies with the federal government.

new regulations and conditions of licensing will mean stronger
environmental controls as well as increased monitoring and
enforcement,” Shea said at a ceremony at the Vancouver Aquarium.

A new DFO division, with 55 employees and an annual budget of $8.3 million, will oversee aquaculture regulations.

the industry will remain a shared responsibility between the two
levels of government, with the province retaining responsibility for
deciding where farms will go and managing Crown leases.

Read full Tmes-Colonist article here


Troubling Emails Reveal Federal Scientists Fear FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon


WASHINGTON – November 15 – After submitting a
Freedom of Information Act request, the
consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch
received numerous recent internal documents
and emails from the U.S. Department of
Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
exposing startling concerns with AquaBounty
salmon – a controversial genetically
engineered (GE) fish the FDA may soon approve
as the first GE food animal for human

The documents reveal that, as late as last
month, the FDA had not adequately fulfilled a
requirement under the Endangered Species Act
to consult with both FWS and another federal
agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS), to determine whether approval of
AquaBounty’s salmon might impact wild,
endangered Atlantic salmon.

Read full CommonDreams.org article here