Sunday, 10 July 2016

Norwegians, Canadians Reject In-ocean Fish Farms - "An Ecological Train Wreck"

Norway, Canada, Atlantic Salmon Federation, NS and BC Public reject Norwegian in-ocean fish farms. See:

Read the ASF summary of issues in eastern North America and Norway. One commentator, Nat Reed, for Presidents Ford and Nixon, served as assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks:  “Norway, considered by the majority of the world as a land with a social conscience and a leader in environmental affairs, is the largest villain when it comes to allowing extensive sea and even fjord netting and permitting salmon farms often at the mouths of their once highly productive rivers . . . . They are destroying their own rivers’ salmon stocks and have even taken to intercepting the migrating salmon headed for the northern Russian salmon rivers.”

It is little wonder that Norwegians are getting a rough ride by countries where their industry uses the oceans as a free, open sewer. In NS, for instance: "...about 100 salmon farms packed into Canada’s Bay of Fundy (the highest concentration in the world) have been largely responsible for devastating wild-salmon runs. Just 40 years ago some 40,000 wild salmon returned to the inner bay. Today returns are down to about 250."

The lengthy summary document goes on, not mincing words, to say: "Saltwater salmon farming is a global disaster. Nothing poses a graver threat to Salmo salar—not global warming, not habitat destruction, not even grossly unsustainable inshore and offshore netting by Norway, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Greenland and Russia."

You will recall Dan Lewis and the Clayoquot delegation went to the same Alta summit the ASF writes about. This is how bad it is in Norway: "At a conference held in Alta, Norway, this past February—attended by most movers and shakers in the Atlantic-salmon-conservation world—the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research shared data indicating that the majority of the nation’s wild salmon have been compromised by hybridizing with aquaculture escapees. An analysis of 125 of Norway’s 650 salmon rivers revealed that only 35 percent of the stocks were genetically intact. Twenty-five percent had been severely compromised, 7 percent moderately compromised and 33 percent lightly compromised."

And is there a lice problem? More unminced words: "So hideous are the lice infestations in some Norwegian rivers that hatchery smolts have to be placed in tanks, towed past the net pens out of the fjords, and released in the open sea."

And, in Norway, the industry cannot be trusted because they don't honour their agreements: "In 1994 Norway and the six other members of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, all major producers of farmed salmon, convened in Oslo to sign an agreement ponderously entitled “The Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean to Minimize Impacts from Salmon Aquaculture on the Wild Salmon Stocks.” All signatories pledged to keep net pens no closer than 30 kilometers from the mouths of salmon rivers, and all promptly reneged."

And how bad is the encroachment on wild Norwegian salmon rivers? Well:  "The Alta, famed for huge fish and generally recognized as the greatest of all Atlantic-salmon rivers, has about 150 net pens in its fjord."

How bad are things in the 'enlightened' Norway? See:  "Pathogens proliferating in crowded net pens are rampant in Norway. These include pancreas disease, amoebic gill disease and infectious salmon anemia (a fatal, hemorrhagic virus transmitted by sea lice that replicates in the gills, kidney, liver, intestine, spleen, muscles and heart). In January 2015 Norway fjords boiled with an estimated 120,000 escaped steelhead trout, some of which carried pancreas disease that may have infected salmon and sea trout and some of which doubtless tore up incubating salmon eggs while attempting to spawn. Anglers were instructed not to eat the alien trout, because they’d been fed delousing drugs. Total salmon escapes for that year were reported at 160,000—the operative word being “reported.” Scientists set the figure closer to 800,000."

And:  In 1983, 5.5 percent of adult salmon entering the Magaguadavic [NS] were net-pen escapees. Today 98 to 99 percent of all salmon in the river are escapees—every one unaccounted for…

Norway is doing one good thing: "...if escaped fish show up in a river and no company has reported a loss, Norway’s government conducts genetic testing, [and] traces the escapees to the company and fines it heavily."

The significance of the ASF brief is this: "Despite all of the ecological squalor created by Norway’s salmon farms, the country is still considered a world leader in salmon-farming best practices. That pretty much says it all about the state of the industry worldwide."

Pretty sad state of affairs. And now, in Canada we have DFO and the CFIA actively colluding to change the science on finding fish farm diseases in BC, in 2016. My article on this will come shortly.

And you will remember Cooke Aquaculture that got fined big time for using the banned chemical cypermethrin for two years, and then received $25 million from the government for plants and etc, on which it reneged:

"Cooke Aquaculture, currently the only operation in Maine, does brisk business in Maritime Canada and Chile, where it eschews the best practices it employs in Maine and where it is therefore red-listed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In 2013 the company was fined $490,000 for killing Atlantic lobsters with an illegal pesticide deployed against its sea-lice infestations. The same year infectious salmon anemia ravaged two of Cooke’s Canadian facilities in Newfoundland, obliging it to destroy 3,700 metric tons of product—for which it was compensated by taxpayers to the tune of $13 million. “Practices are different from region to region,” Carr said. “I think companies just do whatever they can get away with. That’s where our frustration lies.”"

And the CFIA who is trying to cover up ISA in BC, and the govt has paid a total of $177 M up to 2014: "In one recent three-year period aquaculturists who lost fish to infectious salmon anemia shook down the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for $92.7 million, a tradition the agency has found tiresome. So it recently announced that, at least for this disease, the industry is on its own."

I should add that the money no longer comes from the CFIA as my FOI request to them showed. They were unwilling, meaning they refused, to tell me who pays the slaughter money now, that we taxpayers don't want to pay to foreign, multi-billion dollar corporations.

You will remember my list of on-land fish farms - the solution:  ", closed-containment facilities are popping up around the world. There are three in Canada, four in the US, two in Denmark, two in China, one in France, one in Poland, one in Scotland and one in Ireland. Others are in the works, including a large facility in, of all places, Florida..

Well, there are actually far more than this. My link to the 151 systems, and 20,000 actual, on-land farms I have found is:

Finally, how did the Alta conference sum things up? Like this: ASF’s Jon Carr and everyone else... point out: "Atlantic-salmon aquaculture in Norway is a catastrophe spreading around the globe like infectious salmon anemia... .   an ecological train wreck."

Hmm. An  ecological train wreck. I think that says it all.

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