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BC Salmon Farmers Defend Their Practices

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - Claims have been made that salmon farms near Campbell River are having a negative effect on wild fish especially sockeye, but the British Columbia Salmon Farmers says that their farms are responsibly run and have been misrepresented.

In a recent release the organisation provides an understanding of the life history of wild salmon and how, through careful management, salmon farmers minimize the opportunity for transmission of sea lice from farmed salmon.

"Most of us have enjoyed at least an occasional fishing adventure and we are all aware of how deeply rooted our Pacific salmon are to the history, traditions and life styles of coastal BC. As such, we care about our wild salmon populations," says the release.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that our practices do not contribute to the many factors that have and continue to affect our wild salmon."

According to BC Salmon Farmers, research shows that, except in their extreme infancy when first leaving their natal rivers, Pacific salmon are resistant to damage from sea lice. They also say that sockeye salmon spend much of the first year of their life in freshwater and have fully developed immune systems by the time the migrate to saltwater.

"Sockeye fry linger in the Fraser Delta for up to 5 months until they (as juveniles) emerge from the Fraser River plume in late July. Since wild salmon populations are either collecting in the delta or beginning their migration up the Fraser during this time, these adult wild salmon returns are a likely source of sea lice on juvenile salmon emerging from the river.

"As the closest salmon farm is 110 km away from the Fraser River's mouth, there is no opportunity for outmigrating Fraser River salmon fry to come into contact with farmed salmon during the early stags of their life cycle."

the Fish Site Editor

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