Sunday, 23 October 2016

'Farmed salmon ease pressure on wild stocks?' I don't think so: Farmed Salmon Kill Wild Stocks

Times Colonist Newspaper, Victoria, BC
October 20, 2016 12:27 AM

The letter writer below uses the same old spin that fish farms wrote in Norway four decades ago to go along with their so-called 'Blue Revolution' when they were starting up fish farms. A hundred thousand pages of environmental damage science has come on the web since then (Google: fish farm environmental damage, and you will be reading for weeks) and I am surprised someone would use that old chestnut and not blanche with embarrassment.

Re: “Regulators should tackle fish-farming damage,” letter, Oct. 18.

Recent letters to the editor demonstrate some negative opinions about B.C.’s fish farms. If people want to learn about the real environmental impact of fish farms on wild salmon, I suggest they read the reports of the Pacific Salmon Forum and the Cohen Commission. Both looked at decades of research and both came to the same conclusion that fish farms do not cause significant negative impact to our wild salmon. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
It is clear B.C.’s wild salmon are threatened. If we continue to focus on fish farms that have been demonstrated safe, the real issues will continue to threaten wild salmon.
Finally, it is also clear that eating only wild salmon does not protect wild salmon. Farming salmon is a good way to relieve pressure on wild stocks.

Robert Wager

See in the TC:


Then you might like to read my letter I wrote to the TC answering this issue:

Wild fish decline in the presence of fish farms

Times Colonist
October 23, 2016 12:26 AM

Re: “Farmed salmon ease pressure on wild stocks,” letter, Oct. 20.

Fish farms don’t save wild fish; they kill wild fish. Research in B.C., the U.K., Norway and other places shows that wild salmonids decline 50 per cent in their presence.

Fish farms kill lots of other wild fish, too. The Sea Around Us report says 19 of the top 20 global forage fish stocks — jack mackerel in Chile, for example — have been fished ruinously to make fish feed.

In an industry the size of B.C.’s, 5.76 billion forage fish are killed to bring one crop to harvest. For each farmed salmon, 113 forage fish are killed. B.C. is only 8.5 per cent the size of Norway’s industry, and that is just one of a dozen countries. The reality is that fish farms kill trillions of wild-stock fish.

And the sewage cost of fish farms in B.C. is huge — $10.4 billion in damage that we taxpayers don’t want to pay.

Sorry, the Cohen Commission doesn’t agree with the letter-writer. It said fish farms cause damage, and fish farms are to come out of the Quadra area in 2020, in the absence of more proof, as in the precautionary principle. It also calls for the conflict of interest of supporting fish farms to be taken out of Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

D.C. Reid

Here are a few of the references I used to back up what I said and to show how I calculated some of the stats:

Part Two:

1.      To calculate the 5.76 billion figure:

2.      The 50% salmonid decline article is:

3.      To calculate the sewage figure of $10.4 Billion (This is low because I used 80 fish farms rather than the current 85): 

1.      There are about130 licences with about 80 operating and with an average number of fish of 600,000 in BC. These are conservative figures.
2.      The CRD cost of a new sewage treatment facility is: $783 million for 360,000 people. The first is a conservative figure and the second is high because it includes some Gulf Islands, and Sooke residents that are not on the system, leading to a conservative estimate.
3.      The commonly found figure on Google for the sewage conversion rate is the sewage of 10 fish equals the sewage of 1 human being.
And now the calculation:

The Sewage: 80 farms X 600,000 fish per farm = 48 Million fish/10 = the sewage of 4.8 M people.  BC’s population is 4.6 Million people. Fish farms put more sewage into our pristine waters than all the human waste created in BC. This is conservative, as I have not factored in both nitrogen and phosphorous loading. (See Scotland, below).

The cost of sewage treatment: $783M (Victoria cost)/360K people = $X/4.8 Million fish sewage expressed in human sewage terms = $10.4 Billion. And this is only building the system, not operating it, so the cost is conservative.

(Note to DC: this is from my word.doc, Fish Farm Environmental Cost, in Folder: Salmon 2010. See also, this article on BC hake in BC feed:

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