Sunday, 23 June 2019

Fish Farms Trap and Kill Wild Fish

Typically these wild fish (of many species) are killed when the nets are emptied of Atlantic salmon at harvest time. In the WWSS study, they found alarming levels of wild fish, particularly when the CFIA issues a slaughter order for disease, as happened in 2012, in this case IHNV.

Here is the study:

How many wild fish were slaughtered? In the two farms slaughtered: "Figure 1. An anomalous spike in 2012 is the result of two large depopulation events ordered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) because of Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV), according to DFO. The two events resulted in 405,000 herring being killed and is discussed in more detail in the following sections. Barring this 2012 event, we see a growing trend in incidental catch from 2011 to 2017.

If this occurred in two farms, the average is: 203,000 wild fish killed per farm in BC. Using 65 to 70 farms stocked at all times that means 13.2- to 14.2-million wild fish trapped in BC fish farms at any given time. 

The data were from the Dixon Bay and Millar Channel farms in Clayoquot Sound. Note that the WWSS study discusses the non-transparency of the data, the depopulation order, or harvest, along with numbers of wild fish, with unclarity from both DFO/CFIA, and of course, the fish farms themselves. In addition the regulations requiring fish farms to estimate wild fish caught are unclear, and access to the data is restricted.

And remember that it is Clayoquot Sound that has also had huge levels of lice in 2018 and 2019, so that this effect on wild fish is in addition to the trapping and killing wild fish in fish farm nets. Although salmon get caught in the nets, the major numbers of fish are herring, sable fish, hake and cod. Read the lice post here:
Just so that you know the WWSS number of farms is less than the average that I have found in the literature, at 85. If this is the correct figure, it means the wild fish kill is 30.8% higher than this study's calculation, or 17.3 million wild fish trapped and killed at harvest, whether for a slaughter order or when crop is ready. 

Here is a study from Norway that proves the entrapment of many species of wild fish, 2018, Gunnar Fjelldal et al:


The number of wild fish trapped and killed is one side of the story. The other side is the amount of criticism that DFO has been under for the larger part of a decade now on these issues: 

In recent years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has been criticized by numerous high profile and independent entities on its failure to protect British Columbia’s wild fish from the risks of open-net salmon farms: 

  2012 - the $37 million Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded DFO’s alignment with the salmon farming industry may impede its ability to protect wild fish; 

2012 - an expert panel appointed by the Royal Society of Canada concluded DFO’s alignment with industry may impede its conservation of biodiversity mandate; 

2018 - the Auditor General of Canada concluded DFO did not adequately enforce compliance with salmon farming regulations to protect wild fish; 

2018 - an expert independent panel appointed by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, found problems with DFO aquaculture science, including transparency issues with online reporting and risk assessments; 

2019 - a federal court judge concluded that, in relation to the risks of fish farm pathogens, DFO “fails to embody and is inconsistent with the precautionary principle, and it fails to take into consideration the health of wild Pacific salmon.”5 

In short, DFO’s record on regulating the salmon farming industry is fraught with criticism. This includes their communication of science, and public reporting. They require continued auditing and critique. This report aims to increase public understanding of the risks of open-net salmon farming and the inadequacies of DFO’s oversight of this industry."

DFO's blithely saying the opposite on fish farms is bleating when they don't know how foolish they sound. What they are not getting is that the machinery is coming on stream for BC to take over from DFO for wild salmon sake, right now.

Unfortunately we have to put up with DFO for the years it takes for the transition to take place. 


Oh, and the fish farm estimates of wild fish in their nets are far less than the actual numbers of the two farms in question, where there is data. See Figure 3. The disparity between the numbers from slaughtered farms versus self-reporting farms, leads one to directly disbelieve what fish farms say.