December 13, 2007: SOTA LETTER TO THE EDITOR CHALLENGING SEA LICE STUDY


SOTA LETTER TO THE EDITOR CHALLENGING SEA LICE STUDY

By: University of Alberta

The farmed salmon industry in Canada and in other countries has focused its efforts towards achieving harmony between aquaculture and sustainability of the regions impacted. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Canada along with its scientists has pioneered many areas of research and have been recognized for significant findings in the areas of fish health and marine ecosystems interactions especially wild salmon.

The problem with the recent study published in the journal Science is that it does not point out that the DFO has spent 20 years monitoring the pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago area and have documented that the returns of pink salmon in this area fluctuate in odd and even years. In 2001 the pink salmon returns were recorded as the highest in over 20 years while in 2005 the returns were higher than expected, higher in historical averages and even higher than the recorded returns of 1987 before salmon farms were operational in the area.

According to the findings of the DFO the wild pink salmon stocks in the Broughton Archipelago region have been strong despite the claims that they are not. While 2006 returns of adult pink salmon this year were low, this was the case all along the Pacific coast including Alaska where no aquaculture exists, and therefore not limited to the Broughton Archipelago.

Governmental required sea lice monitoring along with mandatory treatment levels at which farmed salmon populations must be treated to reduce the levels of sea lice have been implemented successfully to help reduce the effect on the ecosystem. As the monitoring data shows, the number of lice found on salmon farms has been low with few treatments required.

Differences in scientific perspective may cause confusion to the public as new developments unfold. It is important to note that our industry will continue a proactive plan for sustainable aquaculture to ensure the reproduction of adult wild salmon.

Salmon of the Americas Inc. (SOTA) is a U.S. based non-profit association of U.S., Chilean, and Canadian salmon farming companies. Its mission is to promote the many health benefits of eating salmon.

Resources

Download a copy of the response letter (MS WORD)

Download a copy of this Press Release (MS WORD)

Article: Global Aquaculture Alliance Responds with Rebuttal to Sea Lice Study

Dated: December 13, 2007
Response to: Science
By: University of Alberta
(305) 266-7670

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