Statement: Andrea Kavanagh, Director, Pure Salmon Campaign
On National Academy of Sciences to Publish a Report Finding Salmon Farms Devastating Wild Salmon[Dr. John Volpe puts sea lice in human perspective ("...it would be the same as you having a fifty-pound lice chewing through your back." See this and other sea lice video clips.]
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study to be published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that sea lice from salmon farms kill up to 95 percent of wild juvenile salmon.
"The science is in. It's clear that present salmon farming practices are devastating wild salmon populations."
"Since 95 percent of the juveniles aren't making it beyond a parasite that eats through their thinly developed flesh, they don't mature and certainly don't make it back upstream to reproduce. This poses a severe impact on the survival of wild stocks."
"Getting salmon farms out of the ocean and into closed systems is the only way to avoid this detrimental effect on wild salmon."
- Sea lice are especially virulent parasites that chew on salmon, creating open lesions that weaken their ability to maintain a healthy salt-to-water balance. They spread easily to migrating juvenile wild salmon.
- A previous study found that sea lice concentrations at one Canadian salmon farm were 30,000 times higher than normal. Lice are dispersed around a farm at concentrations 73 times higher than normally occurring levels. (David Suzuki Foundation, "Diseases associated with salmon farms: Furunculosis").
- Sea lice infestations have been reported by operators in Canada, Norway, Scotland, and Ireland.
- Read a factsheet on Sea Lice and Farmed Salmon Mortality [PDF]