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Scientists link fish farms to sea lice outbreak

VANCOUVER - For the first time in Canada, scientists have used data from the world's largest aquaculture company to draw a link between sea lice from Atlantic salmon on British Columbia fish farms and soaring infection rates in wild salmon migrating nearby.

After an infestation caused the near collapse of wild spring salmon stocks in the Broughton Archipelago in 2002, Craig Orr, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, collected information from the Norwegian company Marine Harvest on sea lice at its fish farms in the region.

"We had predicted 3.6 million [wild] salmon returning to the Broughton in 2002. What we got back, according to the [Department of] Fisheries and Oceans count, was 147,000 fish - a 97-per-cent crash that was only in the Broughton," said Dr. Orr, who is also the science co-ordinator for the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.

Watershed Watch is a non-governmental organization that monitors B.C. water systems.

Source: The Globe and Mail

the Fish Site Editor

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