Out of Control Sea Lice

Sea Lice on Atlantic Salmon

They might be tiny, but they sure can do some damage.  They infest the open-net salmon farms and then hop on wild salmon swimming past.  I have read studies that claim sea lice kill 95percent of wild juvenile salmon that swim past the farms.

Here is a fresh article from CBC News about the extent of the damage.

CBC News – Technology & Science – Fish-farm sea lice more widespread than thought.

In another recent article from CBC News, Canada has approved the temporary use of a restricted pesticide called Alphamax on farmed salmon in New Brunswick, that have developed resistance to other pesticides.  The salmon will be pumped into the hold of a large boat, the water will be treated with the chemical, and the fish will be pumped back into their pens, along with the treated water.  Environmentalists are concerned (rightly so) that the chemicals could kill other sea life in the area, such as the lobster that local fishermen depend on.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/10/20/nb-deltamethrin-approval-fish-farms.html#ixzz151B4kKh8

Basically, the only solution is to move all fish farms into closed containment systems on land.   We have seen over and over how unsafe these open-net systems are.  We have seen entire wild fish populations collapse in Norway, Ireland and Scotland.  Haven’t we learned our lesson yet?

Eat Smart: Shop Responsibly

I hate to sound preachy, but…   your consumption choices can make a difference!  Buy sustainable seafood. Don’t be embarrassed to ask a waiter or chef if the fish on the menu is wild or farmed. It lets the business know that customers care one way or the other.  Download a seafood watch cheat-sheet that fits in your wallet or a cell phone app from http://www.monteraybayaquarium.org that tells which seafoods from which areas are caught or farmed in a sustainable manner.  They even have a sushi guide!

Now I have to rant for a moment about farmed salmon…  DON’T BUY IT!  There are too many reasons why farmed salmon is an abomination, so I’ll just list a few.

-the fish are fed a diet of fish meals and oils which make them fattier than wild salmon, but lower in protein.  Eating other fish also concentrates contaminants and makes the salmon more carcinogenic (wild salmon eat mostly krill, not other fish).

-the fish are treated with antibiotics and pesticides

-off shore salmon pens contaminate wild salmon runs with diseases and sea lice infestations (which have become epidemic in salmon farms).  Also, salmon frequently escape from their pens, further contaminating the wild salmon.

-farmed salmon are dyed orange.  Wild salmon’s flesh is orange or red because its natural diet consists of pink krill.  Farmed salmon flesh is naturally grey colored because of its fish meal diet and must be dyed orange to appeal to customers.  (BC Salmon Farmers Association says their salmon is not “dyed”, but fed pigment in the fish meal feed)

I’ll just stop there for now.  I think you get the picture.

(I just have to add that this post is dedicated to my husband, who is a commercial fisherman, and who hates farmed salmon with a passion.  He likes to remind me of the time we were on vacation and ordered an all you can eat sushi dinner.  He could tell that the salmon on the platter was farmed, and refused to touch it.  I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I ate it and became so violently ill with food poisoning that I had to go to the hospital.  Of course he blames the farmed salmon, because it was the only thing on the platter he didn’t eat and he was fine.)