Sunday, 26 February 2017

Scandal of 45 Scottish Lochs Trashed by Pollution, The Herald, Scotland

I rarely just give you an undigested article on the global problems with fish farms. But this one startled even me and I am long enured to bad news in the fish farm/seafood industry.

See this Herald article:

This is a mainstream press article in a major paper from Scotland. Listen to this stinging indictment of the fish farm industry, and its use of chemicals and its pollution. Do note that if a fish farm ever tells you there is really not much sewage under their pens, tell them, nice try, that's like a steel mill CEO saying there is no steel on the ground, but overlooking the smoke stacks billowing out pollution and causing acid rain all across the continent.

The following is only part of the article, and the tables connected to it.

"Revealed: Scandal of 45 Scottish lochs trashed by pollution

AT least 45 lochs around Scotland’s coast have been contaminated by toxic pesticides from fish farms that can harm wildlife and human health, according to data released by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Levels of chemicals used to kill the sea lice that plague caged salmon have breached environmental safety limits more than a hundred times in the last 10 years. The chemicals have been discharged by 70 fish farms run by seven companies. 

The pollution has been condemned as a “toxic timebomb” by environmental campaigners, who are lodging a formal complaint with the European Commission. The fish farming industry, however, insists that it always tries to abide by the rules.

Sepa released a spreadsheet under freedom of information law showing the results of over 1,200 sampling operations at about 280 fish farms. It revealed that between 2006 and 2016 levels of anti-sea lice pesticides found in sediment 100 metres away from salmon cages exceeded environmental quality standards in 45 sea lochs and inshore waters. 

They included Loch Linnhe, Loch Kishorn, Loch Nevis, Loch Ewe, Loch Torridon and ten others in the Highland region. There were 11 contaminated lochs and waters in Argyll and Bute, including Loch Fyne, Loch Creran, the Firth of Lorn, and the sounds of Mull, Jura and Gigha.

Another 11 voes and firths around the Shetland islands were polluted, as were seven in the Western isles and Lamlash Bay in North Ayrshire (see table). The companies named as responsible included Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms, The Scottish Salmon Company and Grieg Seafood Shetland.

The main pesticide detected was emamectin benzoate. According to Sepa, it “is toxic to birds, mammals, fish and other aquatic organisms, particularly those living on the sea bed”.

Of its effect on human health, Sepa said: “Exposure to emamectin benzoate may cause irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes and skin. Animal studies suggest that exposure to emamectin benzoate may also cause tremors.”

Another fish farm pesticide that breached environmental quality standards in lochs was teflubenzuron. It can harm shrimps, crabs and lobsters, and may affect the human liver.

Vyvyan Howard, an emeritus professor of toxicology at Ulster University and a former government adviser on pesticides, was worried about the possible impact on health. “The main concern would be the long-term, low-dose effects,” he told the Sunday Herald. “The risk is ill-defined, and it should be better defined, particularly if there are these inadvertent releases.”

Dr Richard Luxmoore, senior nature conservation adviser to The National Trust for Scotland, warned that emamectin was a neurotoxin that could kill invertebrates and was “highly toxic” to birds and mammals. “The environmental standards have been put there for a good reason,” he said.

“It is highly worrying that they have been breached so many times. This is yet more evidence that the chemical warfare waged by fish farms against sea lice has essentially been lost and the application of toxins to kill them is spiralling out of control.” 

Dr Sam Collin from the Scottish Wildlife Trust agreed emamectin was a major concern. “It’s worrying that there have been so many breaches of the standards for its use,” he said.

“This particular chemical stays in the marine environment for a long time and is capable of causing harm to a wide variety of sea life, in particular invertebrates such as shellfish.”

Sepa’s spreadsheet was obtained by the anti-fish farming campaigner Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture. “Sepa is permitting salmon farmers across Scotland to pollute with impunity," he said.

“Breaches of environmental standards for chemical pollution under salmon farms are now becoming standard practice as Sepa shamefully turns a blind eye.”

Staniford added: “Toxic chemicals from salmon farms have flooded Scottish lochs for over three decades contaminating shellfish and the seabed. Scottish salmon farming is a toxic time-bomb.”

Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, which represents anglers, is referring the emamectin breaches to the European Commission in the belief that they contravene environmental law. “It appears that Sepa has been looking the other way and allowing excessive treatment chemicals to be used, which will have damaged the ecology of the sea lochs,” said the group’s Guy Linley-Adams.

“Sepa must use its statutory powers to order a reduction in the number of farmed fish allowed in the cages to a level at which the fish-farmers can control sea lice and, at the same time, stay within their pollution control licences.”

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, which represents fish farming companies, referred inquires to Sepa. “Our members at all times endeavour to operate within the terms of their consents,” said the organisation’s chief executive Scott Landsburgh."

Is it just me or do fish farms around the world all use the same spin? As in: "we do our best to comply with the rules." In this case, they have been doing their best and polluting the Scotland ocean, some 45 lochs, for a decade. They have exceeded the limits more than 100 times. Is this doing their best? You answer that.                                               

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fish Farm Sewage - Huge Cost to BC Residents: $10.4 Billion, Updated Jan 7, 2019

Here is an updated article that shows how to calculate the sewage from BC fish farms, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood. You pay for this. Do you want to?

Because fish farms use our ocean as a free, open sewer, the people of BC absorb and thus pay for their sewage and the amount is, conservatively estimated, huge: $10.4 Billion.

The common theme in urban sewage treatment is an unwillingness to pay for anyone else’s sewage – the costs are so dramatically high. The cost of a new sewage treatment plant in Victoria is $783 Million – and we all expect it to exceed a billion, the way things are going/not going. The cost of upgrading the Iona and Lion’s Gate sewage treatment facilities in the lower mainland is $1.6 Billion. The Ottawa system in 2012 was about $370 million capital/operating costs. The Halifax system in 2000 was (in 1997 dollars): $307 million in capital costs.

No BC resident wants to pay $10.4 Billion more when the alternative is $0 to BC residents if BC closes fish farm leases, which takes 60 days. That’s all. We don’t need this polluting sector that has only 820 actual jobs and whose contribution to gross provincial product is a measly $61.9 million – for all of aquaculture. 

It doesn’t make sense to leave fish farms in our water. No one wants to absorb and thus pay their sewage cost.

Here is how you do the calculation: 

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 (60,000) 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 equal the sewage of 1 human being. 

And now the calculations:

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, every year. 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 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. 

Even if we double the accepted number of fish per human to 20, the cost is still huge at $5.2 Billion. Do you want to absorb and thus pay these figures because fish farms are ‘free riders’ (the economist’s term for those who cause damage but don’t pay for it)? 

DFO is planning on expanding 11 fish farms and bringing 2 new ‘farms’ in the water. Do you want to pay the sewage cost of these, too? The calculation, as above, assuming 300,000 fish per expanded farm, and 600,000 per new farm is: an extra $980 Million - in addition to the $10.4 Billion you currently support. Do you want this? I didn’t think so.

Send your thoughts to Christy Clark:; and to the Minister of DFO, Dominic Leblanc:; or, Tell them you want fish farms to be on land, and treat their sewage as energy, for hydroponics, or cash (11). Or they can go back to Norway. Our economy will be in better shape than it is now.

In Scotland, fish farm fish put more nitrogen and phosphorous in the ocean than the entire human population, just like the sewage calculation in BC. Norway has nearly ten times the number of BC fish farms, and has a long, jagged coastline, just like BC. Chile has 1,170 farms, and has sheltered water, just like BC, and is probably the dirtiest of all fish farm countries. The algal bloom, in part caused by fish farm sewage, killed 25,000,000 farmed salmon in 2016. Yes, that’s 25 million.
Do you want the sewage in our ocean to be ten times the sewage of all the people in BC? Do you want the sewage bill to be: $104 Billion? I think not.


1.     Sewage plant costs in the Lower Mainland in 2013:, and,  The article has a good map of the lower mainland.

2.     Sewage plant and treatment costs in Ottawa in 2012 is: Calculated for low and high flow days, the annual cost is $.687 X 365 = $250.755 million, to, $1.343 X 365 = $490.195 million. Or about $370 million per year.

3.     Sewage plant and treatment in Halifax in 2000 (1997$), is:

4.     If you read the Victoria TC, almost daily, it has the $783 million sewage plant cost in it.
5.     Fish farm sewage is greater than the sewage of all the people in Scotland. This article deals with nitrogen and phosphorous:

6.     Number of fish farms in Norway, 2013: In ocean: Salmon = 991, Other fish = 110, Total = 1,101. And there are over 90% of licences operating. This implies the BC figure 80/133 X 100 = 60.1% operating is not likely to be correct, making the cost of sewage another 50% higher than the $10.4 Billion figure = $15.6 Billion.

This Nova Scotia newspaper shows 200,000 fish produced the excrement of 65,000 people, or 3 fish per human.This would triple the $10.4 Billion BC estimate to $31.2 Billion. See:

8.  This article says: ‘a fish farm with 200,000 salmon releases nutrients and fecal matter roughly equivalent to the raw sewage generated by 20,000 to 60,000 people’. This means 3 to 10 fish equal the sewage of 1 human being. See:

9.     Fish farms say they produce no sewage, and their feces are nutrients that support wild animals: Myth 6: There sure is a lot of contradictory evidence in the footnotes to this article. And if you Google fish farm environmental damage, you will find more than 50 pages of links that have lots of contradictory evidence, even though fish farms can’t seem to find it. And feedlot fish are foreign in the ocean, and should not be there. They are not the same thing as the natural amount of sewage from wild fish that are the only ones that should be there. 

10.  Fish farms like to compare themselves with on-land animal farming. Check this out to see how damaging cows/hogs/chickens are on land:
"One toxic microorganism, Pfiesteria piscicida, has been implicated in the death of more than one billion fish in coastal waters of North Carolina." We don’t just need fish farms on land, they need to clean up their sewage, too. Fish farms are like feedlots where cows stand up to their shin bones in excrement. And on-land farms don’t just spray their sewage into the air, landing for miles around on other owner’s properties.

Calgary, a city of over 1 million people, collects the methane produced and makes enough electricity to power the entire sewage plant operation for zero dollars. Its tertiary treatment flow into the Bow River results in a Blue Ribbon trout fishery, and water clean enough to be taken up once again. Milwaukee, a city of 600,000 makes $40 million annually by digesting human sewage into Milorganite sold as fertilizer.
See: And:

12.  See the sewage on the bottom underneath a fish farm on Youtube:

13.  Cooke aquaculture, Nova Scotia. More than a dozen videos of their operations. Note that one states that 4,000 lbs of sewage passes through a fish net every day:

14.  A recent report on NS fish farms, which has good information on the sewage under fish farms, along with photos. Lots of worms, but not much else:

15.  Tonnes of dead fish taken from Cooke Aquaculture in 2014. The amount of dead fish is hard to believe:

 16.  Watch this seagull die:

 17.  Ken Ashley, Director of Rivers Institute, did an op-ed in the TC in June 2016. He pointed out that sewage is a revenue stream and needs to be kept and used, not thrown away. Much engineering work these days is in those applications. In addition, sewage that reaches the sea doesn’t disappear. Instead, it gets bio-accumulated up the food chain to apex predators like salmon and killer whales. We don’t want that. See:  
18.  To write this article, I looked at sewage treatment in Victoria (ha, ha), in the CRD, Vancouver, GVRD, Calgary, Ottawa, Halifax, and fish farm sewage in Scotland, Chile and Norway; in the latter, it far exceeds the human population of 8 million. Then I read a number of riveting (not really) scientific papers on sewage treatment, for example the one from Nova Scotia is excellent. I also talked with the engineers of the Calgary, Bonnybrook Wastewater Plant that serves a million people.


Note: text from:  Fish Fish Farm Environmental Cost - BC, in Salmon 2010

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Future of Aquaculture - On-Land Fish Farms - The Future is Now, Updated Feb 25, 2017

Hi Justin and Dominic

UPDATE Feb 25, 2017: Your own DFO scientists, including Dr. Kristi Miller, have found HSMI in BC farmed fish, from PRV, and today's mail brought in the article link:   

This is the current worst disease, in a province with Canada's entire wild Pacific salmon population, that I make to be 73 million. This is 99.8% of all the salmon in Canada. You need to get fish farms out of the water and put on land, as soon as you possibly can.


Now the original letter:  

You need to get out from under your Ottawa bureaucrats, have people in your own offices do some actual research and come to understand that in-ocean fish farms are dinosaurs of the past and the industry has to be put on land.

Your report is actually about a decade behind the times. My list of on-land fish farms is huge, more than 173 actual, on-land fish farm systems around the world, comprising almost 20,000 actual on-land farms: Denmark already has 50% of its fish farms on land, and Finland has 100% of its industry on land, and forbids in-ocean fish farms.

Here is just one article, from today, Feb 20, 2017 on the vast interest in on-land fish farms: In-Ocean on the Skids - interest in on-land fish farms growing fast:

You need to wake up, move from the conflicted position you are in now, and put the industry on land. Fish farms operate in Norway with government. They call it neo-liberalism, we call it conflict of interest. Both DFO and the CFIA are conflicted. In fact, they have fraudulently colluded to not find disease in BC:   

DFO, the CFIA and BCMAL cannot find disease:, even though other researchers have shown European ISA is in BC.

The Sea Around Us project recently showed that the fish farm industry has trashed the ocean forage fish. In fact, 19 of the top 20 fish meal stocks are badly managed, collapsing or both. This is the biggest, best document in the world: 

The report painstakingly put together the stats for 75 years, and just this past week, the BLOOM association called for all fish farms to cease trashing ocean fish stocks:  

And we need on-land fish farms raising vegetarians, like tilipia, not the exotic Atlantic salmon.

The global sewage damage from aquaculture is so bad it is now threatening the world's oxygen source, our vast oceans. The Bengal Bay, India, right now, is so polluted from fish farms, aquaculture, human sewage and trawling that scientists are shouting that it alone could tip to destroying our planet's oceans:

You need to wake up. The fish farm industry is already on land, and that is the future. Just have your own people check out my links and Google for an hour.

This fact you need to pay close attention to: Wild salmon are as important to BC as French is to Quebec:

Even your own BC MPs voted against party lines on Bill C-228, to get fish farms out of the water and put on land. 70% of BC Liberals voted against you. They know they will never be re-elected if they do not stand with wild Pacific salmon.

You need to wake up and do your own research into the science. Have your personal staff follow up my links and Google for an hour. 

I have received two awards – my most recent is a national award – for my work on the environmental damage caused by fish farms. 

My blog receives hundreds of thousands of page views from around the globe:

And then there is Kinder Morgan. Will we fight? "Just watch us."

DC Reid