Aquaculture for all

Monitoring and Managing B.C. Sea Lice

Salmonids Biosecurity Politics +2 more

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - The out migration of young salmon in the Broughton Archipelago is now complete, says BC Salmon Farmers Association. They say, throughout this migration, sea lice numbers have been continually monitored to minimise the opportunity for sea lice transmission from our farms to wild fish.

The results show very low levels of sea lice on Broughton Archipelago farms, says the association. Additionally, sampling by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in 2008 and 2009, found no Lepeophtheirus salmonis (most common sea lice species) lice on juvenile pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago during March, when the salmon are smallest and most susceptible.

The association says that it achieved these low levels by monitoring and managing sea lice to minimise possible transfer to wild populations. This work is audited by provincial authorities.

"BC salmon farms can only be sited in areas where water currents provide optimal conditions for fish well-being and environmental sustainability. This includes avoiding sensitive wild salmon habitat, such as coastal fish spawning and nursery areas", adds the association.

The association says that every farm is monitored monthly. "During the spring months when juvenile salmon may be traveling past farms, we increase our scrutiny to at least once every two weeks. If the average number of maturing sea lice reaches three per fish, veterinarians prescribe medication to remove the lice from all salmon on the farm."

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