Collaboration by industry, environmental groups and academic institutions through the Broughton Area Management Plan (www.bamp.ca) has led to a paper, published this month in PLOS One, identifying the optimum time for salmon farmers to treat for sea lice to protect wild fish migrating at the north end of Vancouver Island.
“This is good work that has arisen from different parties coming to understand that we have a shared common goal of having healthy salmon – on our farms and in the wild,” said Sharon DeDominicis, Marine Harvest Canada’s Environmental Sustainability Manager who represented industry in the BAMP project.
The study is unique in that it creates mathematical models of sea lice populations that account for water temperature, salinity, host density and the use of SLICE (the treatment used for sea lice management in BC). This will make the forecasts much more applicable for salmon farmers in the area. It also merged together data from multiple companies and farm sites: enabling researchers to see broader trends for the entire area.
Authors of the report suggest that winter treatment (January/February) is most effective for managing sea lice numbers on farms in time for the March-July wild salmon migration.
“This is helpful, productive information that has been developed along with the trust built by those involved in this project,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director, BC Salmon Farmers Association.
“It really shows what can be accomplished when everyone focuses on productive, proactive work.”
The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who provide services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing C$800-million to the provincial economy each year.