June 16, 2008: GREENPEACE SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH MISLEADING CAMPAIGN

May 16, 2008: NEW YORK TIMES ISSUES CORRECTION

January 4, 2008: SOTA RESPONDS TO SCIENCE ON SEA LICE STUDY

May 2, 2008: SALMON OF THE AMERICA'S CHALLENGES NEW YORK TIMES ON CHILEAN INDUSTRY REPORTING

December 17, 2007: SALMON FARMING ROILS CHILEAN WATERS

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

December 2, 2007: CHILE’S FLOURISHING FISH FARMS PROMPT FEARS FOR ECOSYSTEM

November 29, 2007: WILD OR FARMED? SALMON EATERS WANT TO KNOW


SOTA RESPONDS TO SCIENCE ON SEA LICE STUDY

By: Global Aquaculture Alliance "Industry Insider" Edition

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.

Considering the chronic negative and at times negligent media campaigns with the intention to mislead consumers away from ocean farmed salmon, our trade association is obligated to clarify some of the issues recently raised regarding sea lice and its implications on wild salmon.

A recent study by The University of Alberta suggests that sea lice from salmon farms are threatening the pink salmon population and that "local extinction is certain, and a 99& collapse in pink salmon population abundance is expected in four salmon generations" is questionable.

To understand the issue a brief history on sea lice should be provided in an effort to shed clarity on the subject.

Sea lice refers to several species of parasitic copepods that are commonly found on most fish and are naturally occurring parasites in existence for millions of years. They can be found on the skin, fins and less frequently on the gills of their hosts. Sea lice cannot survive in fresh water for more than two to three weeks, juvenile farmed salmon are free from sea lice when first introduced into the marine environment from fresh water. At some point after entering the grow-out phase, they become hosts to sea lice.

Salmon farms are typically located in waters that are also commonly used by wild salmon during migration. Sea lice also are attracted to these areas because of potential hosts, including the stickleback and other finfish common to the Broughton Archipelago area. Therefore, many scientists agree it is too simplistic to say that salmon farms are the only cause for sea lice infestations because there are other hosts besides salmon. Additionally, water temperature, salinity and sea currents may also impact the level of sea lice infestations at any given time on wild salmon.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (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.

Salmon of the Americas recent response to the study published in the journal Science, noted that the study was misleading to the reader by not included the findings of the DFO that 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.

For more information on this topic as it is related to Canada, please visit the website of our colleagues in British Columbia at www.salmonfarmers.org.

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.

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Global Aquaculture Advocate
Response to: Science
By: Global Aquaculture Alliance "Industry Insider" Edition
Dated: January 4th, 2008

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