Sea Lice Action Plan Will Not Protect Wild Salmon

January 17, 2005 – MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Victoria, BC – A provincial government plan to reduce sea lice on salmon farms by treating the fish with a toxic chemical will still expose young salmon to fatal levels of sea lice, says the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR).

“This plan is essentially the same as the 2004 Sea Lice Action Plan, which resulted in a 95% incidence of sea lice on young wild salmon,” said Alexandra Morton, a Registered Professional Biologist who lives in the Broughton area off the north east coast of Vancouver Island and has studied the sea lice issue for four years.” “In 2001, we saw this many sea lice on juvenile wild salmon and it led to the biggest wild salmon collapse in recorded history.”

“Scientists from around the world support my research that shows salmon farms should not be located near the rearing grounds for young wild salmon,” said Morton. “In nature young salmon are isolated from older salmon, and the location of these farms shatters the natural laws that have produced some of the greatest salmon resources in the world.”

“Instead of looking for real and innovative ways to solve this problem, the provincial government wants to use a toxic chemical that poses risks to the marine environment and will fail to protect wild salmon, which is one of our most valuable public resources,” said Suzanne Connell, Program Coordinator for the Georgia Strait Alliance.

CAAR is calling on the government to require all BC salmon farms to transition to safe, closed contained tank systems with waste treatment. These systems eliminate escapes and greatly reduce the risk of disease and sea lice transfer between farmed and wild fish.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is a coalition of conservation, science and First Nations groups working to protect the ocean and humans from the dangers of farmed salmon.