Monday, 25 December 2017

Atlantic Salmon in BC Rivers - The Bad News - John Volpe, Updated, Dec 26, 2017

First, have a nice Christmas day. Just remember not to eat any of the cancer-causing farmed salmon. Turkey is a green option versus a red option.

Now, John Volpe's trove of research:

The two obvious rivers filled with alien Atlantic salmon are the Fraser and Skagit (from the 2017 escape of 305,000 salmon in a Cooke, Cypress Island farm, not part of Volpe's research), both very large rivers with multiple runs of multiple species of salmonids. Volpe has studied 41 rivers on Vancouver Island, including the Tsitika, finding 37% with Atlantics and when multiple specie native salmonids are found the percentage rises to a shocking 97% have Atlantics.

[Please note that you can go to this link for the rivers swum on Vancouver Island to find fry, meaning spawned generations, and adult Atlantic salmon:]

Here is Volpe's article rebutting fish farm spin on research by cherry picking the research:

In a nutshell: Magnus Johnson and John Volpe criticize the one-sided view developed in Lucas' overly positive paper on aquaculture, reminding us that industrial-scale use of chemicals, waste products and lack of regulatory oversight undermine both environmental and human health.
11/02/16 - 

I have been saying these things for years. Here is the first paragraph of their criticism: 

"The quick guide to Aquaculture by Lucas [1] provides a decidedly positive and one-sided view where the myriad of negative impacts associated with the industry are ignored. Introduction of exotic species or genotypes [2-9], amplification and transmission of diseases [10-13] and parasites [14-18]. Indeed the very nature of industrial-scale aquaculture serves to not only accelerate and intensify these impacts [19] but generates whole new problems when mitigation is attempted [20, 21]. For instance the drug teflbenzuron targets sea lice, a crustacean farm pest, but teflbenzuron is an indiscriminate killer of all crustaceans, equally effective against crab and lobster too. Teflbenzuron levels in the few surviving crustaceans around salmon cages are high enough to trigger human health concerns [22]. The benthic environments around net pens are typically anoxic reflecting the vast biological load of faeces and uneaten feed from farms leading to bioaccumulation of mercury in few wild species left to feed on the deposits [23]." 

Also, as I have said repeatedly, fish farms/aquaculture offload their problems for free - technically known as  'externalities' in economics:

"The commodification of farmed seafood products like salmon and shrimp have created a race to the bottom among producers. Those generating the most product for the least investment gain the market advantage in the modern aquaculture world where consumers base purchasing decisions on price alone. Therefore maximizing economies of scale and offloading costs are fundamental to remaining competitive. Thus, overlooked corollary is that environmental issues such as those above in addition to carcinogenic product [24-26], predator control, feed sustainability, and ecosystem alteration among others are the physical manifestation of "cheap" seafood..."

This is my own conclusion from looking at the fish farm/seafood industry:

"As demonstrably poor as the international salmon farming industry is, its environmental performance is superior to all other major marine finfish aquaculture products globally [27]. In other words, as bad as it is, it's as good as it gets"

For as bad as it gets, go look at the Bengal Bay article on my site, and from the Guardian newspaper: You'll be appalled. 

Again, as I have already stated, here is where fish farming is today on a global level:

"The underlying business model of all industrial scale fish and crustacean aquaculture is to convert inexpensive inputs to higher value outputs. This means converting vast quantities of edible but low value fish such as sardines, and anchovies into much reduced volumes of salmon, shrimp, grouper and sea bass etc. - a net global loss of edible protein but big profits for producers. Profits peak when regulations (or lack thereof) facilitate maximum consumption of "natural subsidies" such as permitting factory farm waste products to be "washed away" by tides free of charge, penalty-free escape events and transmission of pathogens to wild fauna or wholesale conversion of biophysical parameters in and around the production zone. We contend that such farms should pay the state fair market value for the natural capital their operations consume. The alternative is to internalize these costs through transition to self-contained recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) that can be placed anywhere on land greatly reducing the impact on the environment[36]."

Note that Volpe et al criticize the WWF for its ASCs which are compromised by selling the use of their logo as an eco-label. Tassal, in Tasmania, for instance, pays $250,000 per year to use the ASC eco-label.

The link they have is here and you will have:  30. Wilfried Huismann, D.O., Ellen Wagner (2014). Pandaleaks: The Dark Side of the WWF, (Breman, Germany: Nordbook UG). And here is the link to the book on Amazon:

Here is part of the book description:

"The WWF, renowned global nature conservancy brand, greenwashes the ecological crimes of corporations currently destroying the last remaining rainforests and natural habitats on earth; and it accepts their money. This business model of the famous “eco” organization does more to harm nature than to protect it."

Note that the WWF eco-label is the ASC. You heard it here first: the ASCs mean nothing. And the fish farm industry pays for its own awards, the BAPs and GAAs. They also mean nothing. If a fish farm says they win awards and achieve certifications for their sustainable, healthy, nutritious product, just laugh at them for trying to fool you. And then point your first finger down and rotate it as though it is going down the drain. "A race to the bottom." And laugh again.


Onto another paper, Volpe/Morton put out a work that sampled escaped farmed fish in Area 12, in 2000. Some 10,826 Atlantics were caught in the commercial fishery, the farmed industry losing an average of 46,000 farmed fish per annum:

In BC:

The ASWP reports that from 1991– 2001, an estimated 396,522 Atlantic salmon escaped from salmon farms (ASWP 2002), averaging 46,255 fish per year. However, this enumeration of Atlantic salmon escapes is considered inaccurate since the number lost through...
And the rest is even worse: 
"chronic net pen leakage is likely much larger than reported escape values (Volpe et al. 2001). Since the fish farmer’s count on the number of fish that go into a pen is only accurate to within 3%, the exact loss through mortality and decomposition is not known. In addition, escape of up to 20% of some stocks is considered normal as the “non-performer,” slow growing fish pass through nets of increased mesh sizes installed at intervals to maximize circulation. This “leakage” is perhaps 3% of annual production or 350,000 fish per year at present production levels (ADF&G 2001a)"

And in Alaska, where they forbid fish farms, the first escaped farmed fish, presumably from BC, arrived in 1990. And escapes continued to arrive: "About 50–150 Atlantic salmon have been recovered annually in Alaskan waters since 1994 including four from fresh water (ADF&G 2002a), and a recovery as far north as the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea (Brodeur and Busby 1998)."
When you hear fish farms call the alien species they raise, non-performers don't think, gee whiz that's too bad, think instead, aliens are in our ocean that we can't see, and they have almost three dozen diseases they can catch and pass, but they can go in every river and displace the wild Pacific salmonids that we want, not the non-native fish full of their cancer-causing chemicals like PCBs and so on. Here is the EU graphic on the chemicals in farmed fish.

You will note that farmed salmon has ten times the cancer-causing chemicals as the rest of the food we eat. It sounds like wild talk, but it is actually true. The comparison with Big Tobacco cancer deniers is actually true. We could die of cancer by eating farmed salmon, at ten times the likelihood of our other meat foods. Like Big Tobacco, fish farms, meaning Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood, among others, are denying what we have know since 2004 when Hites et al wrote the paper on the cancer-causing chemicals in farmed fish from Scotland.

Go back and read the David Miller paper on the 'crisis' faced in Scotland by the fish farmers. See the review and link in this post: 


Here is another Volpe paper on the problems with fish farms:

You will see that fish farm spin has been picked up by the scientists, just as I have:

"Industrial salmon aquaculture was introduced to British Columbia on the basis of three promises: (1) to provide jobs and resources to coastal communities—especially First Nations—that had been hard hit by the downturn in the province’s forest and fishing industries; (2) to help to feed the world, by delivering on the potential to use the 
oceans to farm fish to provide protein-rich food; and (3) to relieve pressure on increasingly threatened coastal salmon stocks. Salmon aquaculture thus looked to be an ideal contribution to addressing important global problems. Since its introduction in 1980, however, salmon aquaculture has largely failed to deliver on its promises, spawning an increasingly vocal campaign by environmental groups defining it as a problem in its own right."
All three of these problems have been dealt with in great detail on this site. Briefly:
1. Jobs are very low and revenue goes back to Norway to distribution to shareholders.
2. They can't feed a hungry world as the hungry can't afford the salmon. In fact, their reduction fisheries for pelagics like anchovy take the fish right out of the mouths of the hungry and use them to make fish for wealthy customers.
3. As for reducing threats on weakened wild salmon numbers, this is silly, with the diseases, parasites, lice, chemicals, algal blooms and acidification, non-sustainable feed, sewage, killing of sea lions... the list goes on, fish farms kill wild salmon. And  their fish feed kills massive numbers of wild fish such as anchovy and mackerel. The top 20 stocks for reduction fisheries are either badly managed, collapsing, or both.

 And another paper:

This paper says escapes from fish farms are far underestimated: "Farm-level assessments of escapes have been shown to consistently underestimate escapes (Morton and Volpe 2002), since detection is impossible below threshold levels (Britton et al. 2011). Further, discrete high-volume escape events often go unreported until Atlantic salmon appear in commercial Pacific salmon fishermen’s nets (Sumaila et al.2005). Such haphazard reporting represent the only data on Atlantic salmon occurrence in Pacificwaters. Ad-hoc and passive reporting mechanisms greatly underestimate Atlantic salmon  presence in the wild (Morton and Volpe2002)."


This paper has a Vancouver Island map of the rivers, though it does not name them:

The current Fisheries and Oceans Canada escapes-reporting system—the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program—has been effectively abandoned and was shown to under-represent Atlantic salmon encounters by at least 40 % when it was operational (Morton and Volpe 2002). The lack of monitoring of salmon escapes and invasions indicates a failure of current management practices and a lack of oversight of escapes in British Columbia, with unknown consequences for populations of  native Pacific salmon in coastal rivers.


This paper is about escape laws and plans:

In Table 1. Regulations of aquaculture escapes, 2003, you will find that the laws are not the same around the world, a specific instance where the claim of operating under 'the strictest laws in the world' by fish farms is false.

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