Tag Archives: Marine Harvest

Bring Salmon Farms On Land

By Roy L Hales

screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3-43-47-pmCanada’s $2 billion Aquaculture industry is embroiled in controversy. While there may be some debate as to whether wild salmon spread more infections to British Columbia’s penned stock or vice versa,1 there have been incidents like the Queen Charlotte Strait’s 2015 sea lice epidemic.2 On May 20, 2016, Dr Kristi Miller, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that there is “a potential Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon samples” collected from a aquaculture facility off the coast of Vancouver Island. In Norway, where HSMI is more common, this disease is “associated with generally low mortality on farms, generally between 0 to 20%.”3 The stress (and thus mortality rate) is undoubtedly greater on wild salmon, which need to capture prey, escape predators and swim upstream to spawn. So, acting on behalf of marine biologist Alexandra Morton, ECOjustice is suing Canada’s Ministry of Fisheries for putting wild salmon at risk. Some argue the best answer is to bring salmon farms on land.

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  1. Marine Harvest Canada’s (MHC)studies show that the prevalence of sea lice in wild salmon stocks is unaffected by the presence, or absence, of fish farms. Katherine Dolmage, MHC’s Certification Officer, claims that wild salmon definitely spread sea lice to fish farms in the fall, but data showing that fish farms infect smolts when they swim out to the ocean, in the spring, is not conclusive. Anti-fish farm biologist Alexandra Morton emailed me that these studies are bogus, but did not explain why.
  2. In a 2015 interview, Morton conceded (starts 7:39 in podcast) that the fish farm’s delousing procedure “worked very well for seven years” prior to 2015. MHC is now beefing up their preventative measures with a 75-metre “freshwater well boat,” to give fresh water cleansing baths to their salmon twice a year.
  3.  Press release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada; According to Marine Harvest’s Integrated Annual Report 2015, from Norway, HSMI is listed third in the “Main causes of reduced survival” graph on page 68; Ironically: though HSMI is specifically mentioned in Norway’s Region West, this was also “the most profitable (fish farming) region in Norway in 2015” p 55

Good News About BC’s Fishing Runs

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMAside from the incredible run of 2010, reports of the Fraser River’s sockeye salmon tend to be glum. I believe there is only one Cortes Island based fisherman still working the Johnston strait and recently learned this is the second year he did not receive an opening to fish sockeye.1 Though the culprits were last year’s drought and a culvert (close to my home), most of the chum returning to Basil Creek in 2015 were killed before they could spawn. These were just a few of the stories that prompted me to seek out evidences of the impending demise of what was previously one of our province’s leading industries. Instead, I found good news about BC’s fishing runs.

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  1. Roy L Hales interview with Thea Block, daughter of said fisherman

Pressure Against BC’s Fish Farms is Mounting

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1After two years of legal proceedings, on May 6 Federal court ruled that the government cannot delegate its responsibilities, to protect BC’s wild salmon stocks, to the province’s fish farms. According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, as many as 120 licenses, due for renewal this year, could be affected. Ecojustice filed on behalf of biologist Alexandra Morton in May 2013, after learning that salmon infected with infected with the piscine reovirus (PRV) were put into an open pen fish farm in Shelter Bay, BC. The owners, Marine Harvest Canada, claim “there no evidence” the fish they transferred were unhealthy. Morton has evidence to the contrary and, since her legal victory, the pressure against BC’s fish farms is mounting.

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