- Provincial BC Government, Federal Government of Canada, and Fisheries and Ocean Canada
The emergence of resistance in sea lice in Nootka Sound, British Columbia, is a threat not only to the farmed and wild salmon located there, but salmon populations on the other side of Vancouver Island.
It is generally accepted that sea lice have a negative effect on juvenile salmon survival (1, 2) and has the potential to cause a decline in wild salmon populations (1, 3). The sea lice population in Nootka Sound is larger than would be if SLICE, the medication fed to farmed salmon to kill the parasite, had been effective (4). This suggests that sea lice in that area are becoming immune to the drug.
As the infected farmed salmon were removed and transported to the Walcan Seafood Ltd. processing plant on Quadra Island, the sea lice went as well. These sea lice were then expelled back into the Strait of Georgia along with the waste from processed salmon (4). Alexandra Morton’s preliminary studies of this waste showed that sea lice survived travelling across Vancouver Island, and may be able to reproduce and infect salmon in that area (4). This would threaten the salmon populations that migrate through the Strait of Georgia, including the already threatened Fraser River sockeye salmon population.
Emergence of resistance is not unheard of in sea lice. A study of data from Scotland suggests that emergence has occurred (5), and Norway recently held a meeting to address the issue of resistant sea lice (6). Precautions in British Columbia must be taken to minimize this serious threat to BC’s wild salmon populations, and as such, it requires the support of the provincial and federal government.
1. Krkošek, M., Ford, J., Morton, A., Lele, S., Myers, R., & Lewis, M. (2007). Declining wild salmon populations in relation to parasites from farm salmon. Science, 318, 1772-1775.
2. Pike, A., & Wadsworth, S. (1990). Sealice on salmonids: their biology and control. Advances in Parasitology. 44, 233-337.
3. Ford, J., & Myers, R. (2008). A global assessment of salmon aquaculture impacts on wild salmonids. Plos Biology. 6(2), 1-7.
4. Calling From the Coast. (2010, March 4). Alex Morton follows a trail of sea lice. Retrieved from http://www.callingfromthecoast.com/
5. Lees, F., Baillie, M., Gettinby, G., & Revie, C. W. (2008). Factors associated with changing efficacy of emamectin benzoate against infestations of Lepeophtheirus salmonis on Scottish salmon farms. Journal of Fish Diseases, 31, 947-951.
6. Fish Wise. (2009, November 24). Norway’s fisheries minister calls crisis meeting on sea lice. Retrieved from http://fishwise.org/blog/135-norways-fisheries-minister-calls-crisis-meeting-on-sea-lice
For more information, visit www.callingfromthecoast.com
There is a short 5 minute video explaining the problem.
If you want to do more, donate to www.adopt-a-fry.org where the money will go towards transporting wild juvenile salmon past the salmon farms, as well as a court proceeding to keep the salmon farms from renewing their lease.
To the House of Commons,
We, the undersigned, respectfully urge that action be taken to address the following:
THAT the emergence of SLICE resistance in Nootka Sound, BC, and the spreading of these sea lice by Walcan Seafood Ltd. processing plant on Quadra Island has been reported;
THAT these sea lice will have a negative impact on the survival of wild salmon populations near Nootka Sound, as well as in the Discovery Islands and the Fraser River, which are already experiences difficulties;
THEREFORE, your petitioners suggest opening a formal investigation carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as allocating more funds for scientific investigations to measure the resistivity of sea lice that have currently infected juvenile salmon in Nootka Sound and the viability of the sea lice that are discharged from the outfall pipe in the processing plant.
The Save British Columbia's Salmon petition to Provincial BC Government, Federal Government of Canada, and Fisheries and Ocean Canada was written by Danielle and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.