Tagged: “salmon farming”

Clayoquot Salmon with lice

Clayoquot emergency drug trial

Norwegian salmon farming giant Cermaq has a salmon lice problem on their Clayoquot Sound salmon farms. Documents released through Access to Information indicate Cermaq obtained an Emergency Drug Release to use the insecticide Lufenuron to control salmon lice in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region.

Last year saw salmon lice numbers in Clayoquot spike to levels never before seen in British Columbia, up to 55 lice per farmed fish—eighteen times the threshold for treatment set out by Department of Fisheries (DFO). Independent monitoring found wild salmon juveniles had lice counts as high as 50 per fish.

Cermaq is unable to control their salmon lice epidemic in Clayoquot Sound. Their 2018 lice outbreak likely devastated last year’s wild salmon cohort, and their 2019 numbers are already up to 5 times the DFO limit, right at the beginning of the wild salmon out-migration window.

In 2018 Cermaq had their Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) eco-cert suspended on 3 Clayoquot farms, and voluntarily culled the fish on their Plover Point farm as the lice infestation there was uncontrollable.

2018 Clayoquot lice numbers “shockingly ugly”
A DFO document obtained through ATIP refers to 2018 Clayoquot lice numbers as “shockingly ugly”. The ATIP document further states “Theoretically [Lufenuron] should prevent lice colonization up to the beginning of the outmigration window, but this will be our first field trial of it in BC”.

Lufenuron is not approved for use in Norway, Cermaq’s home country—the manufacturer failed to get approval. The application was withdrawn before it was rejected—the reasons for withdrawing the application are shrouded in secrecy.

Norwegian fish farm companies are losing about US $2 billion annually, due to the high cost of lice treatment, and the loss of up to 20% of their fish each year. If Lufenuron was the magic bullet to control sea lice, why would the Norwegian government not have approved it? Some very serious concerns must have been raised.

There are human health concerns with use of the drug, which resides in the fat of treated animals. The flesh of treated fish cannot be consumed by humans for 350 days after treatment. This raises questions around how Lufenuron-treated fish will be disposed of in the event of a mass die-off, and in the event of an escape, whether Lufenuron-treated fish might be eaten by a predator which could later be caught for human consumption.

Lufenuron kills crustaceans
Lufenuron acts as a chitin synthesis inhibitor; it kills crustaceans like fleas and lice by preventing them from growing a new exoskeleton after moulting. This raises questions about its impact on aquatic organisms in the marine environment—particularly crustaceans like crab, shrimp and prawns, as well as molluscs and cephalopods (octopus). Although the drug will be administered in freshwater hatcheries, it stays in the fish for a very long time. How much will be excreted by fish into the ocean? How long will Lufenuron persist once it settles beneath the fish farm? And how readily will it be accessible to sea creatures?

Cermaq’s solution to their lice problem for 2019 was supposed to be the Hydrolicer—a boat which removes lice from farmed salmon using a stream of pressurized seawater. But Cermaq’s is not yet in operation—although it was scheduled to arrive in early 2019, before the wild salmon outmigration window started on March 1st. Hydrolicers one work in combination with drugs; and come with their own challenges: the procedure is stressful for farmed fish, and can lead to die-offs and disease outbreaks, increasing the risk of disease transfer to wild salmon.

The most important thing here is to protect this year’s wild salmon smolts. That would require having lice numbers under control during the out-migration window from March to June. Clearly Cermaq has been unable to achieve this.

It’s time to demand that Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson take a stand for wild salmon. He needs to stop approving toxic chemicals for use on open-net pen salmon farms, and order a harvest of lice-infested farmed salmon immediately, before they can harm juvenile wild salmon currently migrating out from rivers into the ocean.

Show Minister Wilkinson that you care! Click here to send your letter today.

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

Doug Kimoto west coast commercial fisherman, Ucluelet, and Tofino, BC

Salmon People: meet Doug Kimoto

Doug’s family settled in Clayoquot Sound in 1920 and, since then, generation after generation of Kimotos have called this coast home. Doug recalls that he has fished since he was a child. The boat pictured here was purchased by his father in 1950—a vessel now steeped in Kimoto family history.

In fact, the Kimotos’ livelihoods have been intertwined with the lives of salmon for decades—Doug is a third generation commercial salmon troller. This means that they have witnessed changes in Clayoquot’s wild salmon population first-hand. Doug’s father used to fish year-round but now they face so many restrictions that “it’s really hard to make a living.” Doug points out that he has not fished Coho salmon commercially since 1996.

Doug describes the struggle of people on this coast “to cope with money, being able to support your family, and pay your bills” due to declining wild salmon populations.

Now 68 years old, Doug has been heavily involved in protecting wild salmon in Clayoquot Sound. He has donated his time to help the hatcheries, and participated in various restoration projects including forest renewal. Despite these projects, Doug points out that the salmon runs have still not improved. He calls for better management from DFO and declares that fish farms have to go, pointing to rising sea lice numbers as a major source of concern.

To Doug, salmon “means everything.” His entire family are salmon people, and their futures as fishers are dependent on the survival of salmon.

Join Salmon People by taking the Pledge—together we can protect wild salmon.

salmon people logo. artwork by Joe David, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations

Introducing Salmon People

Wild salmon are in the news a lot these days. Just this week the Union of BC Municipalities passed a resolution calling on the provincial government to move salmon farms out of the ocean!

People power works. Now is the time to continue building pressure until open-net pen salmon farms are removed from the ocean.

Clayoquot Action has launched a bold new campaign to save wild salmon forever. We have a vision, and we have a plan—and you can help make it happen.

Clayoquot Sound can lead the world, by creating a made-in-BC solution that works for everyone, generating healthy food, great long term jobs, and protecting a healthy ecosystem for future generations.

But to do this, polluting salmon farms have to go. Clayoquot Action will track and expose salmon farming’s dirty secrets, keep this story in the news, advocate for job transition and ecosystem restoration, and mobilize people power to make big change.

Please take a moment to check out SalmonPeople.ca and take the Salmon People Pledge. Together we can win this, just like the massive clear cutting of Clayoquot Sound was stopped a quarter century ago.

Unprecedented fish farm win!

A meteor shot thru the pre-dawn sky, burning longer than any I’ve ever witnessed. Was it a sign that something was about to happen?

We were up early to head north to Ahousaht territory to witness the removal of Cermaq’s new fish farm from a place called Yaakswiis, on the shore of Flores Island. The facility had been occupied by members of Ahousaht First Nations for 13 days, until the company finally agreed to remove the floats—at first light on Monday, September 21. Continue reading

New salmon farm approved in Clayoquot Sound

On the Friday afternoon before the BC Day weekend, the government attempted to bury the news that a new salmon farm had been approved in Clayoquot Sound. Three other new farms were also approved for northern Vancouver Island.

The license was issued to Cermaq, a Norwegian-based company belonging to Mitsubishi. If installation is completed, the new feedlot would be located along the shores of Flores Island (pictured below), in Ahousaht First Nations territory. Flores Island is cloaked in intact ancient cedar rainforest, with many creeks supporting runs of wild salmon. Continue reading

Clayoquot Sound sea kayakers in Tofino harbour. Sander Jain photo.

Introducing Clayoquot Action

Joe Foy, the Wilderness Committee’s National Campaign Director, has been the driving force behind many of their campaigns, including the Stein and Carmanah Valleys. Joe’s passion for the wild is inspired and informed by the thousands of hours he has spent exploring BC’s wild places.

There are few places on the planet that vibrate with an awe-inspiring abundance of life in the way that Clayoquot Sound does.

Moss-hung ancient forests grace the land, with some trees as tall as a skyscraper, as wide as your living room and as old as a European cathedral. Clayoquot’s many bays and inlets team with fish, seabirds and whales. Black bears roll rocks on the beaches, looking for tasty seafood snacks.

When European traders first sailed into Clayoquot Sound in the 18th century, Nuu-chah-nulth villages had already been there for many centuries.

Several decades ago, the Nuu-chah-nulth people launched a successful court challenge to prevent logging that threatened the forests of Meares Island. Around the same time the Tofino-based group Friends of Clayoquot Sound was formed to counter the push by multi-national logging companies who wanted to clearcut the region.

The 1990s saw the largest anti-logging protests in Canadian history happening in Clayoquot Sound.

Today, new threats stalk Clayoquot. Oil tanker traffic, salmon farms and industrial mine proposals threaten to undo the good work of generations of Clayoquot defenders.

But now, 20 years after Clayoquot Summer 1993, a new local group – Clayoquot Action – has been formed to help face these new challenges head on. Clayoquot Action’s founders, Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck, were key organizers of those 1990s protests. For the past 25 years they have lived in Clayoquot Sound as keen kayakers, naturalists and ecotourism operators. Dan and Bonny know that although environmental challenges are global by nature, the best place to bring about change is locally, at the community level.

Clayoquot Sound is such a special place. And with the help of Clayoquot Action – may it ever remain so.

Please support Clayoquot Action’s efforts generously through the giving of your time and/or donations.

For the wild…
Joe Foy
Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director

Salmon Confidential inspires Clayoquot Action!

Clayoquot Action hosted filmmaker Twyla Roscovich and wild salmon researcher and advocate Alexandra Morton in Tofino in April. The pair toured BC this spring with Roscovich’s new film Salmon Confidential. They spoke to a sold-out house at the Clayoquot Community Theatre in Tofino after being welcomed to the territory by members of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations.

In the film Alexandra Morton calls for citizens to stand up for wild salmon by forming Departments of Wild Salmon in local regions. Clayoquot Action is responding to this challenge by launching our Wild Salmon Virus Sampling Project.

Salmon feedlots, like any factory farm, are breeding grounds for disease. When a salmon feedlot has an outbreak, billions of viral particles are shed every hour. These particles are carried far and wide by ocean currents. Because wild fish breath by passing water over their gills, it’s not difficult for viruses to enter their bloodstream and voila! the disease has transferred from farmed to wild salmon. The solution is simple: remove salmon farms from wild salmon migration routes. Act now to protect Clayoquot’s wild salmon!

Beginning in late summer and early fall, Clayoquot Action volunteers will hit the rivers to sample wild salmon for the presence of viruses introduced by salmon farms. Stay tuned for further details…