Lawsuit Claims Commercial Salmon Farms Harm Native Fish In Puget Sound – KUOW

Finally, someone decides to question (and challenge) the prevailing assumption that having lice ridden net pens (and dumping antibiotics to protect the salmon from them) of Atlantic salmon in the midst of an endangered run of wild salmon is a good thing. It’s not. It’s a recipe for disaster. We, the taxpayers, are funding millions of dollars to save our wild stocks. Supporting an industry that is known to have problems as a vector for disease and lice is counterproductive. If you wish to help support this lawsuit, even with $10, contribute to The Wild Fish Conservancy. 

The Wild Fish Conservancy is suing federal environmental and fisheries agencies for inadequately monitoring the impact of commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says commercial farms pose many risks to wild salmon. In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service found the opposite. They concluded that commercial salmon farms are unlikely to harm wild salmon. Kate O’Connell Walters (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/lawsuit-claims-commercial-salmon-farms-harm-native-fish-puget-sound

Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles – National Observer

An update on the attempt to create a financially viable closed-containment aquaculture in BC. Ramifications for the Olympic Peninsula because of the push to bring open water net pens to the Straits and expand use in the Sound continues.

The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/07/23/news/kuterra-aquaculture-%E2%80%98namgis-first-nation-raises-hope-wild-salmon%E2%80%94-and-some-hackles

Salmon grown in B.C. land-based tanks come to market – Vancouver Sun

A very positive milestone has been reached in the net pen debate. Finally an alternative to net pen fish has hit the market. We strongly suggest that readers in BC purchase this fish *if* they want to buy farmed fish. Of  course, we continue to promote eating wild fish as the best alternative of all.

The first Atlantic salmon grown entirely on land are now landing on grocery store shelves, marketed as a sustainable alternative to salmon grown in ocean-based net pens. The land-based Atlantic salmon, branded under the name Kuterra, is being distributed by Albion Fisheries and sold at 140 Safeway stores in B.C. and Alberta. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Salmon+grown+land+based+tanks+come+market/9839481/story.html

Sterilise farm salmon, say experts – The Scotsman

While this is not directly related to around here, it does have some interesting scientific findings that are relevant to our own battles against net pens. Read the whole article. It’s quite worth it. Wonder if it’s totally a one to one fit with our fish farming industry?

FARMED salmon should be sterilised to prevent them breeding with wild fish and introducing genetic weaknesses that will hamper their survival, experts have urged.

New research shows that while salmon reared in captivity to be eaten are genetically distinct from their wild relatives, they are just as fertile and pose a potential danger to naturally occurring populations if they escape and breed with them. Millions of salmon escape from fish farms each year and can find their way into wild spawning groups, where they can reproduce and introduce undesirable traits.

Read the rest of the story at

http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/sterilise-farm-salmon-say-experts-1-3334304

 

Land-based fish farms getting into the swim of things in B.C. – The Province

Good article about a working alternative to in water fish farms. This is a rated “green” tilapia farm near Sumas. No waste water is sent to the rivers. The way forward? It certainly takes away the arguement that this is an “in-water” dependent business. Have to see if we can get local restaurants to carry the fish. I’d pay a bit more to support this, wouldn’t you?

Sumas Lake Aquafarm’s fish are imported as fry and raised in a closed-containment system in a former dairy barn. Water is circulated among 24 large metal tanks, each containing about 5,000 fish, and a sophisticated filtration system using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology. The farm is completely bio-secure, and no waste water is released into the environment.

Read the whole story here and do what you can to support local reporting in news outlets like the “The Province”

http://www.theprovince.com/life/Land+based+fish+farms+getting+into+swim+things/9310810/story.html

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable –

Little to no effects on coastal ocean environment seen with proper safeguards, planning.

Olyopen.com says: “This report does nothing to change our belief that the lack of significant research into long term effects of net pens on wild stocks, the issue of sea lice infestation and antibiotic use, is of great concern. Over 20 years of net pen useage have gone on without these issues being investigated. “

Specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place, according to a new report from researchers at NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

The study, led by scientists at National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), evaluated the environmental effects of finfish aquaculture, including interactions with water quality, benthic habitats, and marine life across various farming practices and habitat types.

Olyopen.com says: However, the study is simply an update on existing knowledge. The core questions that are being raised by Alexandra Morton and others, just north of us in British Columbia, are not addressed.  Here’s where we find that the research is missing. Wording directly out of the summary of the report: 

A knowledge gap continues to be how  dissolved nutrients are dispersed and assimilated  over large marine areas, and how ecosystem  productivity may be affected under increasing production from multiple farms.

At  moderately impacted  farms, effects may extend to 100 meters beyond the farm edge

The far-field effects of aquaculture to the ecological functionality of food webs and secondary production have not been studied, are difficult to ascertain and should be an area of future monitoring and research efforts.

Wild fish and other marine life often aggregate around fish cages and this may be considered a beneficial impact to marine life at some locations. As fish are attracted to farms, the potential for negative and positive interactions with human fishers may increase and farm management or regulatory steps should be considered to minimize conflicts. Likewise, marine fish and mammalian predators may also be attracted to farms. Little research has documented the extent to which marine predators target wild fish around farms, but this would be useful for understanding ecological interactions between farming and marine life.

 

Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Adopts SMP

The Board of County Commissioners took formal action to adopt the new Shoreline Master Program with supporting documents by unanimous vote this morning, December 16, 2013. Staff is preparing to forward the updated SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014. Final documents will be posted online when available.

We thank all the County Commissioners for their diligent and determined work to bring a high standard to the environmental protection of our shores. Many dozens of people have worked for over 8 years on this project. It’s the belief of this writer that they have done the best job they could, given the contentious issues, and now to move on stronger protections of this fragile shore.

As to the issue of net pen aquaculture in Jefferson County, it is this writer’s belief that there should be a significant independent scientific study done, perhaps by the Sea Grant folks at the UW who just completed the 6 year geoduck study, to explore the effects of the net pen industry on benthic layers beneath the pens, as well as possible wider effects due to disease and sea lice.  Since DOE relies on science, and the science hasn’t been updated since the 1980’s (at best), it is time to revisit this. There is much water under the bridge on this issue since those days. As we wait for this science to be documented, there should be a moratorium on new net pens in Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea (i.e. Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca). All existing pens should be allowed to continue to exist (if financially viable) but no new ones should be added until we understand whether this is hurting the efforts to re-establish wild salmon or not. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back wild fish. We have no idea of whether sea lice and disease vectors in the pens are harming salmon, rock fish and other species in serious decline.

%d bloggers like this: