Friday, September 04, 2009

Of salmon and sea lice

What's this? Pink salmon are thriving in British Columbia despite salmon farms? I don't know all the facts yet, but I'm curious. And it's worthy of note to see that some salmon are thriving these days, amidst the bad news for salmon elsewhere.

Recently, scientific studies projected extinction for pink salmon due to sea lice (parasite) infestations caused by salmon farms. But now we hear of an historic boom for pink salmon in the Campbell River, an area in British Columbia that is rich with salmon farms. What's going on here? Is there some reason why this pink salmon run is doing so well despite salmon farms nearby?

Meanwhile, sockeye salmon are having trouble elsewhere and that's now being blamed on salmon farms. Here's a response from salmon farmers on this sockeye problem.

What's the truth? It's hard to say, but the best guess is that salmon farming (and sea lice) are not the only cause where salmon are in trouble.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh Mark, you're a breath of fresh air! And yes, I agree, salmon farms are certainly not the only "risk" to wild salmon. In fact, they barely make my top 20 list.

Yes, pink salmon are thriving and it was just a few years ago that the "extinction" prophecy was made. Well, good that they were wrong. But those same people haven't stopped their attacks on salmon farms.

The same woman (Morton) who made those initial claims is the one now making claims of a sockeye/sea lice link. She claims that juvenile pinks out-migrate earlier in the year than the juvenile sockeye, and the farms "collect" sea lice later in the spring, thus threatening the sockeye.

She conveniently ignores the fact that sockeye rivers far north of farms (Skeena/Bulkley) are doing poorly (juvenile salmon don't swim south).

She also ignores the fact that pink salmon rivers for north of salmon farms are doing well...can she not simply understand natural cycles due to many factors (predator/prey balance, feed availability, river survival, plankton blooms etc etc etc)?

She ignores the fact that a sockeye river in the heart of salmon farming (Heydon River) is having it's best year in a decade.

I think you understand that there's an agenda hidden here; I won't bother you with the details.

As I said, yes, salmon farming may be a small risk, but certainly isn't responsible for the fluctuations in salmon populations.

jenskie said...

hi! Its great to see salmon in the wild. It means, the area is clean and I think salmon farming affects those in the wild.

Well, I don't know much about pink salmon, but I love reading your posts, I learned from it.

I am an environment and animal lover, I love going out and take walk at the woods, breath some fresh air and take a look at wild animals.

Anonymous said...

What's going on here, you ask? Well, I'm in British Columbia and can tell you that salmon farms have nothing/nada/zero/nil to do with whether wild salmon returns are good or bad.

But, I'm glad you pointed out what salmon farm haters are hoping people wouldn't notice - record high populations of wild salmon in rivers near farms. Shhhh, it's earily quiet up here...