Aquaculture for all

Commission Hears How Tracked Fish Died

Salmonids Health Welfare +4 more

CANADA - The Cohen Commission that is looking into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River this week heard evidence of how young smolts were dying after passing through Johnstone Strait into Queen Charlotte Sound.

The commission heard from David Welch, who operates Kintama Research Corp, a company that has developed a prototype fish-tracking system.

According to a report on, the tracking system that involves implanting sound emitting devices into the fish to track their movements found the Sockeye smolts disappeared after passing through Johnstone Strait, home to the highest concentrations of open-net Atlantic salmon farms in British Columbia.

The report says that Mr Welch is worried that those who oppose fish farming and believe sea lice from fish farms are infecting the salmon will take his findings out of context.

However, he said that the results need to be examined more closely.

He made the discovery using tracking devices about one kilometre apart at several key points along the inside of Vancouver Island and north of the Island.

He said the results showed that the smolts died several weeks after passing the area of the fish farms.

The Cohen Commission has established 12 research projects to study aspects of the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon, as well as the cumulative effects on the decline.

In most cases, the researchers will provide the commission with a progress report by November 15, 2010 and a final report by January 31, 2011. These reports will be peer-reviewed with researchers and external reviewers providing critical analysis.

The commission is also considering other processes for exploring the various technical and scientific issues, such as panel discussions and forums in which experts retained by the commission and those nominated by participants could exchange views and challenge each other’s findings and conclusions in an open but non-adversarial setting.

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