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BC Salmon Forum Releases New Report on Lice

BRITISH COLUMBIA - To facilitate public understanding of the science concerning sea lice and Pacific salmon, the BC Pacific Salmon Forum has published a comprehensive review by independent biologist Dr. Brian Harvey, entitled 'Science and Sea Lice: What Do We Know?'

The report is intended to provide an overview in plain language of peer reviewed science published in recent years, says Forum Chair John Fraser. It summarizes 87 peer reviewed scientific papers published between 2004-2008, many from British Columbia.

In the report Dr. Harvey makes several points concerning sea lice research:
  • The science on sea lice is actually many sciences, including epidemiology, parasitology, oceanography, meteorology, mathematics, natural history and genetics.
  • In the last few years, research standards have been raised and there is much more cooperation between scientists.
  • At present there is no scientific consensus on whether sea lice from farmed salmon are causing the demise of wild pink and chum populations.
  • Reasons for lack of clarity include knowledge gaps about sea louse natural history and ocean currents as well as disagreement about the design of mathematical models for predicting louse dispersal and spread of infection.
Dr. Harvey says that is hard to separate the public from the scientific debate about sea lice, and in BC it's hard to separate both from the more general issue of salmon farming. However, the science works away as it always has and the burden of proof is with the salmon farming industry.

Right Track

Forum Chair John Fraser says this report also confirms that the Forum is on the right track with its initiative to bring together key scientists to develop a more comprehensive analytical framework to interpret scientific findings.

"There is a lot of new research pending publication and underway - including studies commissioned by the Forum. To incorporate new research that is published during the balance of 2008 the Forum will commission an addendum to this report at the end of the calendar year," he adds.

Science and Sea Lice: What Do We Know is now available. For more information and to access the report visit www.BC Pacific Salmon Forum