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CANADA - The latest anti-aquaculture assault by activist Alexandra Morton in a journal article alleging a link between sea lice and salmon farms continues a well-documented pattern of exaggeration and misleading results, says a grass roots group.

Latest activist research just more misinformation masquerading as science, runs counter to DFO data, says PAA - CANADA - The latest anti-aquaculture assault by activist Alexandra Morton in a journal article alleging a link between sea lice and salmon farms continues a well-documented pattern of exaggeration and misleading results, says a grass roots group.

The activists dont care whether their analysis conforms to basic scientific principals or not, said Laurie Jensen, president of the grassroots aquaculture organization, Positive Aquaculture Awareness.

Ultimately, their aim is to make the front page of the newspaper and scare the public with misleading headlines, she said. In her research featured in the latest edition of Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Morton claimed that a species of lice called Lepeophtheirus (Lep) was the key culprit tied to salmon farms and was endangering wild salmon runs in the Broughton Archipelago. But the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) latest scientific analysis directly contradicts Mortons results in three important areas.

First, the DFO research found that the vast majority of lice in the Broughton Archipelago were Caligus species entirely a different species from those Morton alleged were breeding on salmon farms; Caligus have at least 13 different hosts, including herring, stickleback, Pacific smelts and Capelin all found in abundance in the Coastal area.

Second, the DFO research found very low amounts of Leps, the species Morton singles out as a major problem, on juvenile fish, demonstrating again that Mortons claims are exaggerated.

Third, contrary to Mortons allegations, DFO found absolutely no damage to pinks in the Broughton. The most likely explanation for the drop in pink populations in 2002 the year Morton always cites in her anti-farm campaign -- was the super-abundance of pink returns in 2000 and a resulting shortage of food for the vast numbers of salmon fry entering the sea in 2001, said Dr. Patrick Moore, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.

Moore points out that in five years (1960, 1972, 1978, 1998, 1992), DFO indicates there were FEWER pink salmon spawners in the Broughton than there were in 2002. And in three of those years (1960, 1972, 1978) the salmon farming industry hadn't yet been established in the province. The activists baseless claims are akin to crying wolf, Moore said. They should know that if they cry wolf often enough, they lose all credibility we think thats starting to happen, he said.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Patrick Moore, Chairman & Chief Scientist, Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.
(604) 221-1990 (office),
(604) 250-7400 (cell)

or

Laurie Jensen,
President,
Positive Aquaculture Awareness
(250) 286-8802 (office),
(250) 830-7615 (cell)

Source: Positive Aquaculture Awareness - 2nd March 2004

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