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Sea lice didn't hurt salmon in 2002: report

The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association has cited a new scientific report as evidence that sea lice didn't cause the decline of the 2002 pink salmon run in the Broughton Archipelago.

In a December 13 post on its website, the BCSFA wrote:

The paper, titled Relation of farm salmon, sea lice and wild salmon populations by Gary Marty, Sonja Saksida and Terrence Quinn has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal. The paper concludes that sea lice are not responsible for the decline of Pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago in 2002 - and that other factors, such as environmental stressors need to be investigated. This is contrary to what anti-industry campaigners have claimed

"This is the connecting piece - the document that looks at farmed fish and wild fish data and therefore tells the whole story rather than one-side of it," said [BCSFA Executive Director Mary Ellen] Walling. "It really highlights what salmon farmers have been saying all along: that wild fish survival is a complicated issue with many factors to consider."

Access to the full report requires a subscription to PNAS. However, the abstract is accessible at the link given above. It includes a conflict of interest statement:

None of the authors received compensation from any source for this analysis. S.M.S., as part of her private veterinary practice over the past 15 y, has done contract work for all three fish farm companies that operate in the study area (these companies are cited in the acknowledgments, and this relationship was vital for obtaining all proprietary farm medical records for this study); S.M.S.’s spouse started working for closed-containment aquaculture operation in September 2010.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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