I’ll take wild fish over farmed ones anytime

Dear Sir:

In response to Mr. Grant Warkentin’s Sept. 28, 2011 criticism of Skeena Angler Rob Brown’s concern over the Cohen Commission’s reporting on aquaculture and its impact on wild salmon I would like to ask Mr. Warkentin a few questions about the clean, highly-regulated operation of which he is so proud.

Dear Sir:

In response to Mr. Grant Warkentin’s Sept. 28, 2011 criticism of Skeena Angler Rob Brown’s concern over the Cohen Commission’s reporting on aquaculture and its impact on wild salmon I would like to ask Mr. Warkentin a few questions about the clean, highly-regulated operation of which he is so proud.

What happens to all the fecal matter and waste food that is piling up on our ocean’s floor underneath these farms? With millions of fish in open net containment pens there are thousand of tonnes of waste product killing the sea life and plants in the places these farms are operating. If it is so highly regulated how can the federal government allow disposal of this sludge into our coastal waters?

This waste is filled with chemicals that are ingested by the fish. They are given antibiotics and pesticides presumably to ward off disease and sea lice. If the DFO caught an average Joe unloading his septic tank into the ocean there would be hell to pay. The provincial government is moving towards a ban on pesticides in fertilizer but you get away with it because they give you a special permit.

If sea lice attached to fry are not a factor in the decline of the wild salmon why do fish farmers use SLICE  to keep sea lice away from mature fish? SLICE is a highly toxic pesticide that is only available through the emergency drug release program, which allows the use of non-approved drugs when recommended by veterinarians for emergency situations.

This drug is fed to fish to keep them from becoming infested with  lice. The information regarding this chemical, according to Health Canada, is proprietary and not available to the public. It affects prawns, crabs and shrimp as well as the sea lice.

The ingredients in this drug are toxic to fish, birds, mammals, and aquatic invertebrates – do not apply directly to water, or to areas where surface water is present, or to intertidal areas below the mean high water mark. Do not contaminate water when cleaning equipment or disposing of equipment wash water.

The US has listed this as an unapproved drug that should not be used for consumption in the US. According to the Canadian government this chemical is used at least once on every farmed salmon, 80 per cent of which go to the US market.

How long does it stay in a fish’s system before it is completely gone? And if it is just a short term solution why use it all? There are known cases where sea lice are becoming immune to SLICE. What’s next? A more potent chemical? That has already been tried in New Brunswick. Alphamax® is highly toxic to crustaceans. It is applied by chemical bath with the fish pens surrounded by tarps. The tarps are removed and the solution is released into the ecosystem.

If you are concerned about wild salmon, as you say you are, why not go to closed containment pens. This solves the lice problem and would eliminate the need for pesticides.

Fish farmers are also getting away with killing nearly 200 California sea lions and Stellar seals this year and we still have three months before the year is over. Again, that’s not something that is allowed by ordinary citizens.

Aquaculture may be clean and highly regulated but that’s only on the surface. Beneath that surface is a foul, disgusting and lethal mess killing our wildlife and polluting our ocean,

Mr. Warkentin, you are welcome to your dyed, chemical infected farmed fish. I’ll take a wild sockeye from the Skeena River and not worry about what was used to get rid of the sea lice or what colour was used in their food to give it a more palatable look.

Clayton Lloyd-Jones,

Terrace, BC