Salmon Pharming Kills Lobsters!

The toxicly-challenged Canadian Government seems hell-bent on opening the floodgates to a deadly wave of lethal chemicals.  Cynics might suggest that the Canadian Government is only attempting to make legal what has gone on illegally for decades. 

Today, 20 groups, representing tens of thousands of Canadians, sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to protect the marine environment and coastal communities by halting progress in the development of new pesticide regulations.

The letter to the Prime Minister of Canada points out that: "The pesticides that are being used are toxic not only to sea lice, but also to other crustacean marine life such as lobster, crab, shrimp, and other small crustaceans that are essential sources of food for many marine species including the endangered wild Atlantic salmon and the North Atlantic right whale, both protected under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).....In fact, when it comes to crustaceans, deltamethrin is classified as ‘super toxic’ and can kill lobsters at extremely low concentrations (on the order of parts per billion or parts per trillion)". 

Despite mounting public concern over the impact of aquaculture pesticides on the marine environment, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is in the process of developing regulations that will facilitate and enable the ongoing use of eco-toxic pesticides in the open water by the salmon aquaculture industry.  DFO’s proposed “Pathogen and Pest Treatment” regulation would undermine the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the dumping of toxic substance into fish bearing waters, effectively exempting salmon farmers from legislation designed to protect the marine environment and Canada’s fisheries. Indeed, DFO is tasked to oversee the very Act it threatens to weaken with these new regulations.

“Sea lice infestations plaguing the aquaculture industry highlight the inherent unsustainability of open net pen salmon aquaculture as it is now practiced in Canada,” said Matthew Abbott, Coordinator for Fundy Baykeeper, in St Andrews, New Brunswick. “On top of that, instead of ensuring the aquaculture industry does not harm the marine environment, DFO is planning to facilitate the use of toxic pesticides in the aquaculture industry.”

Pesticides being used by the aquaculture industry in New Brunswick are toxic not only to sea lice, but also to other crustaceans including lobster and the many small crustaceans (like krill) that form the base of the food chain. Repeated pesticide use in open waters threatens to disrupt both marine ecosystems and the economies of coastal communities that rely on traditional fisheries, such as the lobster fishery.

”Wherever open net-cages are used to rear hundreds of thousands of densely packed farmed salmon the industry faces problems controlling parasites and disease,” said John Werring of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform in British Columbia. “Rather than undermining the Fisheries Act and aiding the salmon farming industry in supplementing their arsenal of toxic weapons, DFO should be investing in the development of alternative technologies that do not require pesticide use, such as closed containment.”

For more information including the letter and a backgrounder on sea lice and pesticides see:          Sea to Poisoned Sea, Harper Government proposes new regulation that would facilitate toxic pesticide use on salmon farms

Last year, the Canadian salmon pharming industry was caught up in yet more controversy when "hundreds of dead lobsters" were hauled out of the Bay of Fundy amidst reports of illegal chemical use.   Officers from Environment Canada raided the offices of a salmon farming company "seeking clues to the source of an illegal pesticide found in lobsters".  Watch CBC's news reports:

Cypermethrin_illegalily_used_in_the_Bay_of_Fundy

Environment_Canada_raids_Cooke_Aquaculture_offices

For more background on the toxic chemicals used in salmon pharming read 'Silent Spring of the Sea'.