DEEPER DIVE

find the truth below the surface

DEEPER DIVE

find the truth below the surface

Correcting misinformation facing

BC’s salmon farming sector.

BC's salmon farmers are world leaders in innovation, while raising delicious food that’s BC’s #1 seafood export. Take a deeper dive with us as we use science and research to respond to myths and misinformation facing BC's salmon farming sector.

Correcting misinformation facing BC’s salmon farming sector.

BC's salmon farmers are world leaders in innovation, while raising delicious food that’s BC’s #1 seafood export. Take a deeper dive with us as we use science and research to respond to myths and misinformation facing BC's salmon farming sector.

Get started by selecting from one of the categories below.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The large number of sea lice on salmon farms endanger out-migrating wild salmon smolts.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The large number of sea lice on salmon farms endanger out-migrating wild salmon smolts.”

THE REALITY

To protect wild salmon stocks, BC salmon farmers minimize on-farm sea lice numbers during the wild salmon out-migration through sophisticated monitoring and mitigation programs.

SHARE

THE REALITY

To protect wild salmon stocks, BC salmon farmers minimize on-farm sea lice numbers during the wild salmon out-migration through sophisticated monitoring and mitigation programs.

SHARE

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers recognize wild Pacific salmon as iconic species and are deeply dedicated to their conservation and committed to recovery efforts in their production regions. While they are aware that stock declines can be largely attributed to the detrimental impact of a variety of factors, including climate change, historical logging practices, urban development, industrial pollution and over-fishing,1 they recognize that excessive sea lice loads can impact the health of wild juvenile salmon. Since some stocks of juvenile salmon pass by salmon farms during their spring out-migration from coastal waters to the open ocean, salmon farmers take extra precautions during this period to ensure that sea lice numbers on farms are minimized.

Sea lice levels on BC salmon farms have been regulated since 2003: first by the BC Ministry of Agriculture—and since 2011, by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), under its Pacific Aquaculture Regulations.2 Aside from two challenging outbreaks in two areas of the coast in 2019, DFO has stated salmon farmers have been successful in managing sea lice. On June 28, 2019, former DFO Minister Wilkinson stated:

“During most years, more than 90 per cent of BC farm sites have been below the regulatory sea lice threshold during the wild salmon out-migration period…”3

All BC salmon farms must hold an Aquaculture License issued by DFO.4 Each Aquaculture Licence specifies conditions regarding specific operational and reporting requirements that farmers must adhere to in order to operate legally and be in compliance with the Fisheries Act and regulations.5 The conditions of license contain provisions to ensure that salmon farms are operated in an environmentally sustainable manner that minimizes the risk to wild fish stocks and the marine resource. Failure to comply can result in investigation and enforcement actions under the Fisheries Act.6

Salmon farm conditions of license specify area-based and site-specific sea lice monitoring requirements for each farm. In general, the sea lice-related conditions of license divide each year into 3 sea lice monitoring ‘windows’ defined by the out-migration pattern of the juvenile salmon:7

  • Non-migration Window: July 1 – January 31
  • Pre-migration Window: February 1 – February 29
  • Out-migration Window: March 1 – June 30.

During the non-migration period, each farm must conduct a sea lice count on the farmed salmon at least once per month – and submit the results to DFO by the 15th of the following month. If the count exceeds the threshold of 3 motile sea lice per fish, the farm must notify DFO within 7 days – and conduct sea lice counts every 2 weeks thereafter as long the the count continues to exceed 3 lice per fish.8

During the pre-migration window, 2 sea lice counts must be conducted – with results submitted to DFO within 48 hours of each counting event. If either of these counts reveal over 3 motile sea lice per fish, DFO must be notified – and presented with a plan describing the measures that will be taken to ensure that sea lice levels are below the threshold level by the start of the out-migration window. In addition, sea lice counts must be conducted every 2 weeks thereafter as long as sea lice levels continue to exceed 3 lice per fish.9

During the out-migration window, sea lice counts must be conducted within the first week of the window – and once every 2 weeks thereafter. The results of each counting event must be submitted to DFO by the 15th of the following month. If the sea lice count exceeds the threshold of 3 lice per fish, DFO must be notified within 48 hours – and a plan must be presented describing the sea lice management measures that will be undertaken to reduce sea lice levels below the threshold level within 42 days.10

REFERENCES

1 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

2 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Pacific Aquaculture Regulations. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2010-270.pdf

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2019. Government of Canada announces enhancements to sea lice enforcement in British Columbia. https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-oceans/news/2019/06/government-of-canada-announces-enhancements-to-sea-lice-enforcement-in-british-columbia.html

4 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Aquaculture licensing in BC. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/index-eng.html

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Marine Finfish Aquaculture License conditions. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/docs/licence-cond-permis-mar/licence-cond-permis-mar-eng.pdf

6 Ibid.

7 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Marine Finfish Aquaculture License conditions. Section 6.1. p. 10. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/docs/licence-cond-permis-mar/licence-cond-permis-mar-eng.pdf

8 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 11

9 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 11

10 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 12

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers recognize wild Pacific salmon as iconic species and are deeply dedicated to their conservation and committed to recovery efforts in their production regions. While they are aware that stock declines can be largely attributed to the detrimental impact of a variety of factors, including climate change, historical logging practices, urban development, industrial pollution and over-fishing,1 they recognize that excessive sea lice loads can impact the health of wild juvenile salmon. Since some stocks of juvenile salmon pass by salmon farms during their spring out-migration from coastal waters to the open ocean, salmon farmers take extra precautions during this period to ensure that sea lice numbers on farms are minimized.

Sea lice levels on BC salmon farms have been regulated since 2003: first by the BC Ministry of Agriculture—and since 2011, by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), under its Pacific Aquaculture Regulations.2 Aside from two challenging outbreaks in two areas of the coast in 2019, DFO has stated salmon farmers have been successful in managing sea lice. On June 28, 2019, former DFO Minister Wilkinson stated:

“During most years, more than 90 per cent of BC farm sites have been below the regulatory sea lice threshold during the wild salmon out-migration period…”3

All BC salmon farms must hold an Aquaculture License issued by DFO.4 Each Aquaculture Licence specifies conditions regarding specific operational and reporting requirements that farmers must adhere to in order to operate legally and be in compliance with the Fisheries Act and regulations.5 The conditions of license contain provisions to ensure that salmon farms are operated in an environmentally sustainable manner that minimizes the risk to wild fish stocks and the marine resource. Failure to comply can result in investigation and enforcement actions under the Fisheries Act.6

Salmon farm conditions of license specify area-based and site-specific sea lice monitoring requirements for each farm. In general, the sea lice-related conditions of license divide each year into 3 sea lice monitoring ‘windows’ defined by the out-migration pattern of the juvenile salmon:7

  • Non-migration Window: July 1 – January 31
  • Pre-migration Window: February 1 – February 29
  • Out-migration Window: March 1 – June 30.

During the non-migration period, each farm must conduct a sea lice count on the farmed salmon at least once per month – and submit the results to DFO by the 15th of the following month. If the count exceeds the threshold of 3 motile sea lice per fish, the farm must notify DFO within 7 days – and conduct sea lice counts every 2 weeks thereafter as long the the count continues to exceed 3 lice per fish.8

During the pre-migration window, 2 sea lice counts must be conducted – with results submitted to DFO within 48 hours of each counting event. If either of these counts reveal over 3 motile sea lice per fish, DFO must be notified – and presented with a plan describing the measures that will be taken to ensure that sea lice levels are below the threshold level by the start of the ou-migration window. In addition, sea lice counts must be conducted every 2 weeks thereafter as long as sea lice levels continue to exceed 3 lice per fish.9

During the out-migration window, sea lice counts must be conducted within the first week of the window – and once every 2 weeks thereafter. The results of each counting event must be submitted to DFO by the 15th of the following month. If the sea lice count exceeds the threshold of 3 lice per fish, DFO must be notified within 48 hours – and a plan must be presented describing the sea lice management measures that will be undertaken to reduce sea lice levels below the threshold level within 42 days.10

REFERENCES

1 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

2 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Pacific Aquaculture Regulations. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2010-270.pdf

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2019. Government of Canada announces enhancements to sea lice enforcement in British Columbia. https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-oceans/news/2019/06/government-of-canada-announces-enhancements-to-sea-lice-enforcement-in-british-columbia.html

4 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Aquaculture licensing in BC. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/index-eng.html

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Marine Finfish Aquaculture License conditions. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/docs/licence-cond-permis-mar/licence-cond-permis-mar-eng.pdf

6 Ibid.

7 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Marine Finfish Aquaculture License conditions. Section 6.1. p. 10. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/docs/licence-cond-permis-mar/licence-cond-permis-mar-eng.pdf

8 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 11

9 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 11

10 Ibid. Section 6.5. Page 12

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Sea lice originate on salmon farms.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Sea lice originate on salmon farms.”

THE REALITY

Sea lice are a naturally occurring parasitic organism that have lived in BC’s coastal waters for thousands of years.11 They are tiny crustaceans belonging to a subclass of organisms known as copepods. Copepods constitute the largest source of protein in the world’s oceans in their early larval stages. Copepods have colonized almost every aquatic habitat on earth, and collectively comprise the largest animal biomass on earth.12

SHARE

THE REALITY

Sea lice are a naturally occurring parasitic organism that have lived in BC’s coastal waters for thousands of years.11 They are tiny crustaceans belonging to a subclass of organisms known as copepods. Copepods constitute the largest source of protein in the world’s oceans in their early larval stages. Copepods have colonized almost every aquatic habitat on earth, and collectively comprise the largest animal biomass on earth.12

SHARE

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Sea lice are common parasites on Pacific salmon in the marine environment off BC’s coast. There are two species of sea lice found on salmon, Caligus clemensi and Lepeophtheirus salmonis. C. clemensi affects many species of marine fish, while L. salmonis is found only on salmon and related species.13

Adult Pacific salmon that migrate in from the open ocean, and aggregate in coastal areas prior to entering their natal rivers to spawn, carry large numbers of sea lice. In one study,14 virtually 100% of all adult Pacific salmon carried sea lice. The average number of lice carried by these wild salmon was 3 times higher than the threshold level permissible on salmon farms. Based on the developmental stage of these sea lice, the study concluded that the sea lice had infected the wild salmon in the open ocean, long before they approached the coastal salmon farming areas.

The offspring of these sea lice carried in from offshore elevate the number of sea lice in coastal waters where they infect juvenile Pacific salmon that have not yet migrated offshore—as well as infecting juvenile farmed salmon who enter the marine environment lice-free.15

REFERENCES

11 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Sea Lice Management of Salmon Farms.https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/publications/infographics-infographie/lice-pou-eng.html

12 Alaska Department of Fish and Game. What are Sea Lice?https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=388

13Ibid.

14 Beamish, R.J., Neville, C.M., Sweeting, R.M., Ambers, N. 2005. Sea lice on adult Pacific salmon in the coastal waters of central BC, Canada. http://www.richardbeamish.com/uploads/1/6/0/0/16007202/sea_lice_pacific_salmon_2005.pdf

15 Ibid.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Sea lice are common parasites on Pacific salmon in the marine environment off BC’s coast. There are two species of sea lice found on salmon, Caligus clemensi and Lepeophtheirus salmonis. C. clemensi affects many species of marine fish, while L. salmonis is found only on salmon and related species.13

Adult Pacific salmon that migrate in from the open ocean, and aggregate in coastal areas prior to entering their natal rivers to spawn, carry large numbers of sea lice. In one study,14 virtually 100% of all adult Pacific salmon carried sea lice. The average number of lice carried by these wild salmon was 3 times higher than the threshold level permissible on salmon farms. Based on the developmental stage of these sea lice, the study concluded that the sea lice had infected the wild salmon in the open ocean, long before they approached the coastal salmon farming areas.

The offspring of these sea lice carried in from offshore elevate the number of sea lice in coastal waters where they infect juvenile Pacific salmon that have not yet migrated offshore—as well as infecting juvenile farmed salmon who enter the marine environment lice-free.15

REFERENCES

11 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Sea Lice Management of Salmon Farms.https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/publications/infographics-infographie/lice-pou-eng.html

12 Alaska Department of Fish and Game. What are Sea Lice?https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=388

13Ibid.

14 Beamish, R.J., Neville, C.M., Sweeting, R.M., Ambers, N. 2005. Sea lice on adult Pacific salmon in the coastal waters of central BC, Canada. http://www.richardbeamish.com/uploads/1/6/0/0/16007202/sea_lice_pacific_salmon_2005.pdf

15 Ibid.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Sea lice become resistant to drugs.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Sea lice become resistant to drugs.”

THE REALITY

To prevent sea lice resistance to chemotherapeutants, BC salmon farmers have developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment options. The use of alternative options reduces the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments—and thereby reduces the likelihood of resistance.

SHARE

THE REALITY

To prevent sea lice resistance to chemotherapeutants, BC salmon farmers have developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment options. The use of alternative options reduces the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments—and thereby reduces the likelihood of resistance.

SHARE

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),16 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of chemotherapeutant used and provide assessments of alternative treatments that were considered.17

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may increase sea lice resistance to the treatment. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention strategies and treatment options. The use of alternative options is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts. These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers. Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment. Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment. Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding program. Non-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%. This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present in BC.
  • Cleaner fish. Globally, there are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.
REFERENCES

16 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),16 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of chemotherapeutant used and provide assessments of alternative treatments that were considered.17

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may increase sea lice resistance to the treatment. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention strategies and treatment options. The use of alternative options is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts. These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers. Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment. Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment. Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding program. Non-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%. This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present in BC.
  • Cleaner fish. Globally, there are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.
REFERENCES

16 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming’s use of sea lice pesticides and chemicals harms the marine environment.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming’s use of sea lice pesticides and chemicals harms the marine environment.”

THE REALITY

As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquaculture Activities Regulations, salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. To reduce their reliance on these products, salmon farmers have developed an array of non-chemotherapeutant options to prevent and treat sea lice infestations.

SHARE

THE REALITY

As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquaculture Activities Regulations, salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. To reduce their reliance on these products, salmon farmers have developed an array of non-chemotherapeutant options to prevent and treat sea lice infestations.

SHARE

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),18 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of chemotherapeutant used and provide assessments of alternative treatments that were considered.17

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may increase sea lice resistance to the treatment. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention strategies and treatment options. The use of alternative options is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts. These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers. Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment. Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment. Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding program. Non-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.19
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%. This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present in BC.
  • Cleaner fish. Globally, there are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.

All of these innovative treatment strategies will allow BC salmon farmers to reduce their use of chemotherapeutants to treat sea lice. For infestations where chemotherapeutant treatment is deemed to be the best option, salmon farmers will increasingly rely upon state-of-the-art technologies like the CleanTreat® purification system. This system is capable of cleaning all water after chemotherapeutant treatment, removing all medicated particles from treatment water before it is released back into the environment—thereby ensuring that seabed organisms are not impacted. This technology also removes all treatment-resistant lice from the treatment water, preventing them from re-entering the environment—and thereby preventing the development of resistance.20

REFERENCES

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

19https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2015.0574

20CleanTreat® by Benchmark.http://cleantreat.no/

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),18 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of chemotherapeutant used and provide assessments of alternative treatments that were considered.17

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may increase sea lice resistance to the treatment. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention strategies and treatment options. The use of alternative options is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts. These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers. Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment. Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment. Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding program. Non-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.19
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%. This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present in BC.
  • Cleaner fish. Globally, there are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.

All of these innovative treatment strategies will allow BC salmon farmers to reduce their use of chemotherapeutants to treat sea lice. For infestations where chemotherapeutant treatment is deemed to be the best option, salmon farmers will increasingly rely upon state-of-the-art technologies like the CleanTreat® purification system. This system is capable of cleaning all water after chemotherapeutant treatment, removing all medicated particles from treatment water before it is released back into the environment—thereby ensuring that seabed organisms are not impacted. This technology also removes all treatment-resistant lice from the treatment water, preventing them from re-entering the environment—and thereby preventing the development of resistance.20

REFERENCES

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations.https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

19https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2015.0574

20CleanTreat® by Benchmark.http://cleantreat.no/

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“PRV in BC was imported from Norwegian fish farms where the farmed fish originated.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“PRV in BC was imported from Norwegian fish farms where the farmed fish originated.”

THE REALITY

Since the presence of PRV in the BC marine environment pre-dates salmon aquaculture activities, salmon farms are an unlikely source for this virus.

SHARE

THE REALITY

Since the presence of PRV in the BC marine environment pre-dates salmon aquaculture activities, salmon farms are an unlikely source for this virus.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Piscine Reovirus (PRV) is not a recent introduction to the Pacific Northwest marine environment. The virus was found in archival tissue samples from wild-sourced salmonids collected in 1977.1 While Atlantic salmon were first imported into western Canada for wild stock enhancement in 1905,2 importations for salmon farming purposes did not begin until 1985.3

Since the presence of PRV in the BC marine environment pre-dates salmon aquaculture activities, salmon farms are an unlikely source for this virus.

Surveys conducted in North America have revealed that PRV is endemic in the marine environment of the Pacific Northwest. PRV genetic material has been found in wild Chinook, Coho and Pink salmon from Washington State, BC and Alaska, including in areas where there are no salmon farms.4,5

Since PRV is endemic in BC’s marine environment – and was present before Atlantic salmon farming began – it is most likely that the first farmed Atlantic salmon became infected with pre-existing PRV when they were initially placed into the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Today, young PRV-free farmed salmon from hatcheries continue to become infected by the virus after they enter the marine environment.

REFERENCES

1 Marty, G.D., Morrison, D.B., Bidulka, J., Joseph, T., and A. Siah. (2015). Piscine reovirus in wild and farmed salmonids in British Columbia, Canada: 1974–2013. Journal of Fish Diseases 2015, 38, 713–728. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jfd.12285

2 Maccrimmon H.R. & Gots B.L. (1979) World distribution of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 36, 422–457.

3 Castledine A.J. (1991) Atlantic salmon in the northeast Pacific. In: Aquaculture factsheet. Province of British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ed. by none) Bulletin No. 38, pp. 4. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Victoria, BC, Canada.

4 Siah A, Morrison DB, Fringuelli E, Savage P, Richmond Z, Johns R, et al. (2015) Piscine Reovirus: Genomic and Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis from Farmed and Wild Salmonids Collected on the Canada/US Pacific Coast. PLoS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141475

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2015). Assessment of the occurrence, distribution and potential impacts of piscine reovirus on the west coast of North America. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2015/037. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/363813.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Piscine Reovirus (PRV) is not a recent introduction to the Pacific Northwest marine environment. The virus was found in archival tissue samples from wild-sourced salmonids collected in 1977.1 While Atlantic salmon were first imported into western Canada for wild stock enhancement in 1905,2 importations for salmon farming purposes did not begin until 1985.3

Since the presence of PRV in the BC marine environment pre-dates salmon aquaculture activities, salmon farms are an unlikely source for this virus.

Surveys conducted in North America have revealed that PRV is endemic in the marine environment of the Pacific Northwest. PRV genetic material has been found in wild Chinook, Coho and Pink salmon from Washington State, BC and Alaska, including in areas where there are no salmon farms.4,5

Since PRV is endemic in BC’s marine environment – and was present before Atlantic salmon farming began – it is most likely that the first farmed Atlantic salmon became infected with pre-existing PRV when they were initially placed into the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Today, young PRV-free farmed salmon from hatcheries continue to become infected by the virus after they enter the marine environment.

REFERENCES

1 Marty, G.D., Morrison, D.B., Bidulka, J., Joseph, T., and A. Siah. (2015). Piscine reovirus in wild and farmed salmonids in British Columbia, Canada: 1974–2013. Journal of Fish Diseases 2015, 38, 713–728. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jfd.12285

2 Maccrimmon H.R. & Gots B.L. (1979) World distribution of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 36, 422–457.

3 Castledine A.J. (1991) Atlantic salmon in the northeast Pacific. In: Aquaculture factsheet. Province of British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ed. by none) Bulletin No. 38, pp. 4. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Victoria, BC, Canada.

4 Siah A, Morrison DB, Fringuelli E, Savage P, Richmond Z, Johns R, et al. (2015) Piscine Reovirus: Genomic and Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis from Farmed and Wild Salmonids Collected on the Canada/US Pacific Coast. PLoS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141475

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2015). Assessment of the occurrence, distribution and potential impacts of piscine reovirus on the west coast of North America. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2015/037. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/363813.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The high density of salmon in fish farms allows virulent forms of PRV to multiply.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The high density of salmon in fish farms allows virulent forms of PRV to multiply.”

THE REALITY

In a series of scientific studies, the BC strain of PRV has not induced disease or mortality in either wild or farmed salmon.

THE REALITY

In a series of scientific studies, the BC strain of PRV has not induced disease or mortality in either wild or farmed salmon.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

There is an important difference between the prevalence of a virus and the virulence of a virus. Prevalence refers to how widespread a virus is within a population—but it gives no indication of how harmful or benign the virus may be. Virulence refers to the capacity of a virus to cause disease within a host organism.

In the case of PRV, the higher density of farmed salmon (relative to wild salmon) can allow PRV to transfer between farmed fish more easily. In other words, the virus can become more prevalent.

However, this does not mean it becomes more virulent. In a study by UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, juvenile salmon were injected with an extremely high dose of the BC strain of PRV – thus making the virus highly prevalent in the salmon. However, none of the infected salmon showed any disease symptoms – and none of them died. In other words, despite being prevalent, the PRV was not virulent.6

According to Dr. Tony Farrell, the principal investigator of the UBC study, “These data show that there is minimal risk from the BC strain of PRV for BC farmed Atlantic salmon.”7

Dr. Farrell’s statement supports the results of previous studies conducted by other researchers who found that the BC strain of PRV did not induce disease or mortality in either wild or farmed salmon.8,9

REFERENCES

6 Zhang, Y. Polinski, M.P., Morrison, P.R., Brauner, C.J.. Farrel, A.P., and Garver, K.A. 2019. High-Load Reovirus Infections Do Not Imply Physiological Impairment in Salmon. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00114/full

7 UBC News. 2019. Cardiorespiratory fitness of farmed Atlantic salmon unaffected by virus. https://news.ubc.ca/2019/03/13/cardiorespiratory-fitness-of-farmed-atlantic-salmon-unaffected-by-virus/

8 Garver, K.A., Marty, G.D., Cockburn, S.N., Richard, J., Hawley, L.M., Müller, A., et al. (2016a). Piscine reovirus, but not jaundice syndrome, was transmissible to Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum), Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka (Walbaum), and Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Diseases 39:117– 128. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfd.12329

9 Garver, K.A., Johnson, S.C., Polinski, M.P., Bradshaw, J.C., Marty, G.D., Snyman, H.N., et al. (2016b). Piscine Orthoreovirus from Western North America is transmissible to Atlantic Salmon and Sockeye Salmon but fails to cause Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation. PLoS ONE 11(1): 1-17. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146229&type=printable

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

There is an important difference between the prevalence of a virus and the virulence of a virus. Prevalence refers to how widespread a virus is within a population—but it gives no indication of how harmful or benign the virus may be. Virulence refers to the capacity of a virus to cause disease within a host organism.

In the case of PRV, the higher density of farmed salmon (relative to wild salmon) can allow PRV to transfer between farmed fish more easily. In other words, the virus can become more prevalent.

However, this does not mean it becomes more virulent. In a study by UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, juvenile salmon were injected with an extremely high dose of the BC strain of PRV – thus making the virus highly prevalent in the salmon. However, none of the infected salmon showed any disease symptoms – and none of them died. In other words, despite being prevalent, the PRV was not virulent.6

According to Dr. Tony Farrell, the principal investigator of the UBC study, “These data show that there is minimal risk from the BC strain of PRV for BC farmed Atlantic salmon.”7

Dr. Farrell’s statement supports the results of previous studies conducted by other researchers who found that the BC strain of PRV did not induce disease or mortality in either wild or farmed salmon.8,9

REFERENCES

6 Zhang, Y. Polinski, M.P., Morrison, P.R., Brauner, C.J.. Farrel, A.P., and Garver, K.A. 2019. High-Load Reovirus Infections Do Not Imply Physiological Impairment in Salmon. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00114/full

7 UBC News. 2019. Cardiorespiratory fitness of farmed Atlantic salmon unaffected by virus. https://news.ubc.ca/2019/03/13/cardiorespiratory-fitness-of-farmed-atlantic-salmon-unaffected-by-virus/

8 Garver, K.A., Marty, G.D., Cockburn, S.N., Richard, J., Hawley, L.M., Müller, A., et al. (2016a). Piscine reovirus, but not jaundice syndrome, was transmissible to Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum), Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka (Walbaum), and Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Diseases 39:117– 128. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfd.12329

9 Garver, K.A., Johnson, S.C., Polinski, M.P., Bradshaw, J.C., Marty, G.D., Snyman, H.N., et al. (2016b). Piscine Orthoreovirus from Western North America is transmissible to Atlantic Salmon and Sockeye Salmon but fails to cause Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation. PLoS ONE 11(1): 1-17. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146229&type=printable

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“PRV causes a disease called Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) that can kill salmon.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“PRV causes a disease called Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) that can kill salmon.”

THE REALITY

After an exhaustive investigation of existing research, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat concluded there was a low likelihood that the presence of the BC strain of PRV would have a significant impact on wild Pacific Salmon populations.

THE REALITY

After an exhaustive investigation of existing research, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat concluded there was a low likelihood that the presence of the BC strain of PRV would have a significant impact on wild Pacific Salmon populations.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The strain of PRV found in BC is genetically different from the more virulent PRV strains found in other regions, such as Norway.10,11 Unlike the Norwegian PRV strain, a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the BC strain of PRV and Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) has not been established.12 In fact, scientifically monitored exposures of Pacific and Atlantic salmon to the BC strain of PRV have been unable to induce either disease or mortality.13,14,15,16

After an exhaustive investigation, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (2015) concluded that:

“…the ubiquitous nature of Piscine Reovirus (PRV), its apparent long time presence in wild Pacific salmonid stocks, and the lack of clear association with disease in laboratory challenge trials, suggest a low likelihood that the presence of this virus in any life stage of farmed Atlantic and Pacific Salmon would have a significant impact on wild Pacific Salmon populations.”17

Furthermore, in its assessment of the risk to Fraser River Sockeye due to PRV transfer from salmon farms, the DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (2019) concluded:

“PRV attributable to Atlantic Salmon farms…poses minimal risk to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon abundance and diversity under the current farm practices.”18

REFERENCES

10 Siah A, Morrison DB, Fringuelli E, Savage P, Richmond Z, Johns R, et al. (2015) Piscine Reovirus: Genomic and Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis from Farmed and Wild Salmonids Collected on the Canada/US Pacific Coast. PLoS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141475

11 Kibenge M.J.T., Iwamoto T., Wang Y., Morton A., Godoy M.G. & Kibenge F.S.B. (2013) Whole-genome analysis of piscine reovirus (PRV) shows PRV represents a new genus in family Reoviridae and its genome segment S1 sequences group it into two separate sub-genotypes. Virology Journal, 10, 230.

12 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2018). Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) and Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI). https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/aah-saa/species-especes/aq-health-sante/prv-rp-eng.html

13 Garver, K.A., Marty, G.D., Cockburn, S.N., Richard, J., Hawley, L.M., Müller, A., et al. 2016a. Piscine reovirus, but not jaundice syndrome, was transmissible to Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum), Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka (Walbaum), and Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Diseases 39:117– 128. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfd.12329

14 Garver, K.A., Johnson, S.C., Polinski, M.P., Bradshaw, J.C., Marty, G.D., Snyman, H.N., et al. 2016b. Piscine Orthoreovirus from Western North America is transmissible to Atlantic Salmon and Sockeye Salmon but fails to cause Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation. PLoS ONE 11(1): 1-17. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146229&type=printable

15 Zhang, Y. Polinski, M.P., Morrison, P.R., Brauner, C.J.. Farrel, A.P., and Garver, K.A. 2019. High-Load Reovirus Infections Do Not Imply Physiological Impairment in Salmon. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00114/full

16 UBC News. 2019. Cardiorespiratory fitness of farmed Atlantic salmon unaffected by virus. https://news.ubc.ca/2019/03/13/cardiorespiratory-fitness-of-farmed-atlantic-salmon-unaffected-by-virus/

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2015). Assessment of the occurrence, distribution and potential impacts of piscine reovirus on the west coast of North America. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2015/037. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/363813.pdf

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2019). Assessment of the risk to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon due to piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) transfer from Atlantic Salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area, British Columbia. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2019/036. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/ResDocs-DocRech/2019/2019_036-eng.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The strain of PRV found in BC is genetically different from the more virulent PRV strains found in other regions, such as Norway.10,11 Unlike the Norwegian PRV strain, a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the BC strain of PRV and Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) has not been established.12 In fact, scientifically monitored exposures of Pacific and Atlantic salmon to the BC strain of PRV have been unable to induce either disease or mortality.13,14,15,16

After an exhaustive investigation, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (2015) concluded that:

“…the ubiquitous nature of Piscine Reovirus (PRV), its apparent long time presence in wild Pacific salmonid stocks, and the lack of clear association with disease in laboratory challenge trials, suggest a low likelihood that the presence of this virus in any life stage of farmed Atlantic and Pacific Salmon would have a significant impact on wild Pacific Salmon populations.”17

Furthermore, in its assessment of the risk to Fraser River Sockeye due to PRV transfer from salmon farms, the DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (2019) concluded:

“PRV attributable to Atlantic Salmon farms…poses minimal risk to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon abundance and diversity under the current farm practices.”18

REFERENCES

10 Siah A, Morrison DB, Fringuelli E, Savage P, Richmond Z, Johns R, et al. (2015) Piscine Reovirus: Genomic and Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis from Farmed and Wild Salmonids Collected on the Canada/US Pacific Coast. PLoS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141475

11 Kibenge M.J.T., Iwamoto T., Wang Y., Morton A., Godoy M.G. & Kibenge F.S.B. (2013) Whole-genome analysis of piscine reovirus (PRV) shows PRV represents a new genus in family Reoviridae and its genome segment S1 sequences group it into two separate sub-genotypes. Virology Journal, 10, 230.

12 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2018). Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) and Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI). https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/aah-saa/species-especes/aq-health-sante/prv-rp-eng.html

13 Garver, K.A., Marty, G.D., Cockburn, S.N., Richard, J., Hawley, L.M., Müller, A., et al. 2016a. Piscine reovirus, but not jaundice syndrome, was transmissible to Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum), Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka (Walbaum), and Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Diseases 39:117– 128. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfd.12329

14 Garver, K.A., Johnson, S.C., Polinski, M.P., Bradshaw, J.C., Marty, G.D., Snyman, H.N., et al. 2016b. Piscine Orthoreovirus from Western North America is transmissible to Atlantic Salmon and Sockeye Salmon but fails to cause Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation. PLoS ONE 11(1): 1-17. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146229&type=printable

15 Zhang, Y. Polinski, M.P., Morrison, P.R., Brauner, C.J.. Farrel, A.P., and Garver, K.A. 2019. High-Load Reovirus Infections Do Not Imply Physiological Impairment in Salmon. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00114/full

16 UBC News. 2019. Cardiorespiratory fitness of farmed Atlantic salmon unaffected by virus. https://news.ubc.ca/2019/03/13/cardiorespiratory-fitness-of-farmed-atlantic-salmon-unaffected-by-virus/

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2015). Assessment of the occurrence, distribution and potential impacts of piscine reovirus on the west coast of North America. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2015/037. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/363813.pdf

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2019). Assessment of the risk to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon due to piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) transfer from Atlantic Salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area, British Columbia. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Response 2019/036. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/ResDocs-DocRech/2019/2019_036-eng.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farmers are stuck in the past – and refuse to look at other ways of raising farmed salmon.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farmers are stuck in the past – and refuse to look at other ways of raising farmed salmon.”

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers support continued research, development and adoption of salmon farming technologies that enhance environmental sustainability and reduce the risk to wild salmon, including land-based closed containment.

SHARE

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers support continued research, development and adoption of salmon farming technologies that enhance environmental sustainability and reduce the risk to wild salmon, including land-based closed containment.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Land animal farming has taken over 10,000 years1 to achieve its current level of technological sophistication and environmental sustainability. Salmon farming, on the other hand, did not begin in BC until the late 1960’s.2 Because of this, salmon farming in BC has had to evolve very rapidly to meet today’s standards for environmental sustainability. To achieve this, BC salmon farmers have developed and implemented technology and innovations at an unprecedented rate.

In BC, the first ocean nets pens were developed to raise Pacific salmon for wild salmon enhancement projects.3 Until the early 1980s, the framework of net pens was primarily constructed from wood.4,5 However, today’s net pen systems have evolved significantly from their wood-based predecessors. The most common coastal net pen systems currently used by BC salmon farms are steel square net systems and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) circle net systems.6 These systems are engineered to be stronger, more durable, and more securely moored than wooden structures.

The nets used in today’s pens are also stronger than in the past. Modern nets are manufactured from modern polymers that provide excellent and long-lasting durability, strength, and reliability in the marine environment. These modern nets are an important reason why farmed salmon escapes have been reduced to almost zero in recent years.7

Escaped Salmon Per Year, BC

Advances in net technology implemented by the industry have reduced the number of escaped farmed fish in British Columbia.

Graph of Escaped Salmon Per Year, BC

The commitment of BC salmon farmers to continuously strive for the highest level of environmental sustainability is leading to the development of even greater technological sophistication and innovation in net pen systems.

  • Modern net pens are now equipped with bird nets, marine mammal exclusion nets, and predator deterrence systems that greatly reduce the potential of harming wild animals.8
  • BC salmon farms now primarily use automated feed delivery systems that evenly distribute a set amount of feed throughout the pen at designated times. To avoid the build up of waste feed on the sea floor, feeding behaviour and unconsumed feed is closely monitored primarily via underwater video cameras.9

Additional groundbreaking tools are currently being tested to further improve the sustainability of BC salmon farms. For example:

  • Machine-learning applications are being developed to allow underwater drone technology to survey nets for the presence of holes and tears - with each net deviation digitally “tagged” to allow swift repair. Similar capabilities can be used for inspections of net pen shackles and moorings. These features will help to prevent large escape incidents by facilitating swift repairs.10
  • Automated feed delivery systems guided by underwater cameras, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology will reduce feed wastage even further – thereby further reducing the impact of salmon farming on the sea floor beneath the pens. 11
  • Innovative camera solutions, coupled with machine-learning capabilities, will allow the health assessment (including sea lice detection) of 10,000 individual fish each day. This capacity to assess individual fish will allow BC salmon farmers to promptly implement health management strategies to reduce the likelihood of the farm-wide spread of disease and sea lice infestations.12

Semi-Closed Containment Systems13

The salmon farming industry is currently developing floating, semi-closed production systems (S-CC systems). These S-CC systems will make use of a large but controllable water intake, solid but flexible pen walls, and optimized internal water hydraulics. The systems will allow for greater control of the conditions inside the pen by allowing farmers to pull in water from depths below those generally inhabited by sea lice and algae (thereby reducing their likelihood of entering the pen) – and all but eliminate interactions between wild and farmed fish populations. S-CC systems are built with innovation in mind and, as technology continues to advance, the systems will have the ability to be fitted or updated with technological innovations that could collect solid waste, filter the water exiting the system, and extract any particles before they entered or exited the system.

Cermaq Canada is currently trialing an S-CC system in Clayoquot Sound within the traditional territory of the Ahousaht First Nation. Grieg Seafood has also installed S-CC systems at two of its Sunshine Coast farms.

Floating Closed Containment Technologies14,15,16

State-of-the-art floating closed containment (CC) systems have been designed to reduce losses in sea production, protect the environment against undesired impacts, increase productivity, and at the same time reduce production costs. The walls of these systems are impenetrable to both sea lice and pathogens—and escape-proof for the farmed salmon. Like S-CC systems, their water intake can be filtered and then treated with UV light to prevent lice, algae, bacteria, and viruses from entering the production environment. The system also has the capacity to grind and spread waste sludge so that there is no build-up beneath the farm site. Alternatively, the system can collect and filter solid fish waste discharge—so that it can be transported to land for further processing.

Ocean-based S-CC and CC farms will therefore prevent sea lice infestations, virus transfer from the wild, and escapes. They will also avoid the massive energy requirements of land-based CC facilities.

Hybrid Production Strategies

BC salmon farmers are increasingly focusing on raising juvenile farmed salmon to larger, more robust sizes within land-based recirculating aquaculture systems before transferring them to ocean-based production systems. Because the growth and survival rates of larger juveniles surpass those of traditional sizes, BC salmon farmers are able to reap the clear benefits of ocean-based grow-out—yet significantly lower the length of time that the salmon spend in the ocean, thus effectively reducing production and environmental challenges related to sea lice infestation and potential interactions with wild salmon stocks.

Raising juveniles to larger sizes on land therefore represent a hybrid production strategy that integrates the environmental, social, and economic benefits of land-based smolt production with those of ocean-based grow-out production.

For more information on the evolution of salmon farming in BC, please visit:

BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation & Technology

REFERENCES

1 Ensminger, M.E.; Parker, R.O. (1986). Sheep and Goat Science (Fifth ed.). Interstate Printers and Publishers.

2 Hicks, B. Short history of salmonid aquaculture. http://www.tidescanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brad_Hicks_-_The_History_of_Salmon_Aquaculture.pdf https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/aah-saa/species-especes/aq-health-sante/prv-rp-eng.html

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1983. An overview of net pen rearing enhancement technique. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/72643.pdf

4 Ibid.

5 Hicks, B. Short history of salmonid aquaculture. http://www.tidescanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brad_Hicks_-_The_History_of_Salmon_Aquaculture.pdf

6 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.17. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

7 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. Raising Opportunity: Raising Climate-Friendly Food on BC’s Coast. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/BCSFA_Sustainability_Report_2019_web-1.pdf

8 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 18. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

9 Ibid. p. 20.

10 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.39. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

11 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.37. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

12 Ibid. p. 39.

13 Ibid. p.45

14 Ibid. p.46

15 FishFarmingExpert. 2017. FlexiFarm promises fewer losses, lower costs. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/flexifarm-promises-fewer-losses-lower-costs/

16 Cermaq. 2017. Cermaq applies for 13 development licenses for FlexiFarm. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/cermaq/news/mynewsdesk-press-release-2254335/mynewsdesk-press-release-2254335

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Land animal farming has taken over 10,000 years1 to achieve its current level of technological sophistication and environmental sustainability. Salmon farming, on the other hand, did not begin in BC until the late 1960’s.2 Because of this, salmon farming in BC has had to evolve very rapidly to meet today’s standards for environmental sustainability. To achieve this, BC salmon farmers have developed and implemented technology and innovations at an unprecedented rate.

In BC, the first ocean nets pens were developed to raise Pacific salmon for wild salmon enhancement projects.3 Until the early 1980s, the framework of net pens was primarily constructed from wood.4,5 However, today’s net pen systems have evolved significantly from their wood-based predecessors. The most common coastal net pen systems currently used by BC salmon farms are steel square net systems and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) circle net systems.6 These systems are engineered to be stronger, more durable, and more securely moored than wooden structures.

The nets used in today’s pens are also stronger than in the past. Modern nets are manufactured from modern polymers that provide excellent and long-lasting durability, strength, and reliability in the marine environment. These modern nets are an important reason why farmed salmon escapes have been reduced to almost zero in recent years.7

Escaped Salmon Per Year, BC

Advances in net technology implemented by the industry have reduced the number of escaped farmed fish in British Columbia.

Graph of Escaped Salmon Per Year, BC

The commitment of BC salmon farmers to continuously strive for the highest level of environmental sustainability is leading to the development of even greater technological sophistication and innovation in net pen systems.

  • Modern net pens are now equipped with bird nets, marine mammal exclusion nets, and predator deterrence systems that greatly reduce the potential of harming wild animals.8
  • BC salmon farms now primarily use automated feed delivery systems that evenly distribute a set amount of feed throughout the pen at designated times. To avoid the build up of waste feed on the sea floor, feeding behaviour and unconsumed feed is closely monitored primarily via underwater video cameras.9

Additional groundbreaking tools are currently being tested to further improve the sustainability of BC salmon farms. For example:

  • Machine-learning applications are being developed to allow underwater drone technology to survey nets for the presence of holes and tears - with each net deviation digitally “tagged” to allow swift repair. Similar capabilities can be used for inspections of net pen shackles and moorings. These features will help to prevent large escape incidents by facilitating swift repairs.10
  • Automated feed delivery systems guided by underwater cameras, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology will reduce feed wastage even further – thereby further reducing the impact of salmon farming on the sea floor beneath the pens. 11
  • Innovative camera solutions, coupled with machine-learning capabilities, will allow the health assessment (including sea lice detection) of 10,000 individual fish each day. This capacity to assess individual fish will allow BC salmon farmers to promptly implement health management strategies to reduce the likelihood of the farm-wide spread of disease and sea lice infestations.12

Semi-Closed Containment Systems13

The salmon farming industry is currently developing floating, semi-closed production systems (S-CC systems). These S-CC systems will make use of a large but controllable water intake, solid but flexible pen walls, and optimized internal water hydraulics. The systems will allow for greater control of the conditions inside the pen by allowing farmers to pull in water from depths below those generally inhabited by sea lice and algae (thereby reducing their likelihood of entering the pen) – and all but eliminate interactions between wild and farmed fish populations. S-CC systems are built with innovation in mind and, as technology continues to advance, the systems will have the ability to be fitted or updated with technological innovations that could collect solid waste, filter the water exiting the system, and extract any particles before they entered or exited the system.

Cermaq Canada is currently trialing an S-CC system in Clayoquot Sound within the traditional territory of the Ahousaht First Nation. Grieg Seafood has also installed S-CC systems at two of its Sunshine Coast farms.

Floating Closed Containment Technologies14,15,16

State-of-the-art floating closed containment (CC) systems have been designed to reduce losses in sea production, protect the environment against undesired impacts, increase productivity, and at the same time reduce production costs. The walls of these systems are impenetrable to both sea lice and pathogens—and escape-proof for the farmed salmon. Like S-CC systems, their water intake can be filtered and then treated with UV light to prevent lice, algae, bacteria, and viruses from entering the production environment. The system also has the capacity to grind and spread waste sludge so that there is no build-up beneath the farm site. Alternatively, the system can collect and filter solid fish waste discharge—so that it can be transported to land for further processing.

Ocean-based S-CC and CC farms will therefore prevent sea lice infestations, virus transfer from the wild, and escapes. They will also avoid the massive energy requirements of land-based CC facilities.

Hybrid Production Strategies

BC salmon farmers are increasingly focusing on raising juvenile farmed salmon to larger, more robust sizes within land-based recirculating aquaculture systems before transferring them to ocean-based production systems. Because the growth and survival rates of larger juveniles surpass those of traditional sizes, BC salmon farmers are able to reap the clear benefits of ocean-based grow-out—yet significantly lower the length of time that the salmon spend in the ocean, thus effectively reducing production and environmental challenges related to sea lice infestation and potential interactions with wild salmon stocks.

Raising juveniles to larger sizes on land therefore represent a hybrid production strategy that integrates the environmental, social, and economic benefits of land-based smolt production with those of ocean-based grow-out production.

For more information on the evolution of salmon farming in BC, please visit:

BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation & Technology

REFERENCES

1 Ensminger, M.E.; Parker, R.O. (1986). Sheep and Goat Science (Fifth ed.). Interstate Printers and Publishers.

2 Hicks, B. Short history of salmonid aquaculture. http://www.tidescanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brad_Hicks_-_The_History_of_Salmon_Aquaculture.pdf https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/aah-saa/species-especes/aq-health-sante/prv-rp-eng.html

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1983. An overview of net pen rearing enhancement technique. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/72643.pdf

4 Ibid.

5 Hicks, B. Short history of salmonid aquaculture. http://www.tidescanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brad_Hicks_-_The_History_of_Salmon_Aquaculture.pdf

6 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.17. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

7 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. Raising Opportunity: Raising Climate-Friendly Food on BC’s Coast. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/BCSFA_Sustainability_Report_2019_web-1.pdf

8 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 18. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

9 Ibid. p. 20.

10 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.39. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

11 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.37. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

12 Ibid. p. 39.

13 Ibid. p.45

14 Ibid. p.46

15 FishFarmingExpert. 2017. FlexiFarm promises fewer losses, lower costs. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/flexifarm-promises-fewer-losses-lower-costs/

16 Cermaq. 2017. Cermaq applies for 13 development licenses for FlexiFarm. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/cermaq/news/mynewsdesk-press-release-2254335/mynewsdesk-press-release-2254335

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“BC should move to land-based salmon farming like other countries around the world.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“BC should move to land-based salmon farming like other countries around the world.”

THE REALITY

Land-based closed containment systems are currently incapable of reliably producing healthy, nutritious farmed salmon in an economically, environmentally, and ethically sustainable manner.

THE REALITY

Land-based closed containment systems are currently incapable of reliably producing healthy, nutritious farmed salmon in an economically, environmentally, and ethically sustainable manner.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers support continued research, development and adoption of salmon farming technologies that reduce the potential risk to wild salmon, including land-based closed containment.

Land-based salmon facilities are in various stages of development in many countries, e.g. China, Denmark, US, Japan, Canada, Norway, Faroe Island, and Chile.17 However, actual salmon production from these facilities has been extremely limited. For example, the actual production of the land-based production systems listed in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology report18 currently produce less than 6500 tonnes annually19—which is less than .03% of global farmed salmon production. Moreover, none of these facilities has achieved profitability. Even individuals associated with land-based systems dismiss the possibility of land-based facilities achieving profitability in the short term—and some question whether land-based production could ever contribute significantly to supplying the global demand for salmon.20,21,22

The challenges of growing salmon in land-based facilities were emphasized by the March 2, 2020 announcement by a Danish land-based facility that a quarter million of its fish had died in a single, massive mortality event.23 This loss of fish follows a 2017 mortality event at the same facility during which 250 tonnes of fish died.24 According to a salmon equity analyst, this latest mortality event emphasizes that land-based salmon production is still in a constant developmental phase.25

Large mortality events are not the only difficulty confronting land-based salmon famers. Even when salmon reared in land-based systems survive to market size, these fish are tainted with earthy and musty off-flavors that consumers find unacceptable. These flavors are typically caused by metabolites (geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol) released by microbes that grow within the land-based systems.26

In 2019, Atlantic Sapphire—the company attempting to become the world’s largest land-based salmon producer—openly acknowledged that off-flavours are one of the company's major risk factors:

“If the group is not successfully managing the air and water quality parameters at its production facilities and removal of off-flavour compounds from the fish in its 'finishing' system, the accumulated off-flavours and odours in the fish flesh from the circulating water may decrease the meat quality of the group's products, adversely [impacting] the marketability of the products and the group's business, future profitability and cash flows.”27

Currently, the only reliable method to mitigate the off-flavors is to transfer the fish to separate, odor-free depuration systems that are continually flushed with new water (i.e. recirculated water cannot be used) for a 5-10 day period. If all of BC’s annual farmed salmon production were grown in land-based systems, 4.2 billion litres of new water would be needed every hour for this depuration process. In other words, for each 24 hours, 100 billion litres of water would be needed—making a total water requirement of 1000 billion litres for a 10-day depuration period.28

In addition to the environmental concern with this huge water requirement, the depuration process raises animal welfare concerns. To ensure that the off-flavours are cleared, the fish must be starved during the 10-day depuration period—during which lose 5-10% of their body weight. In addition to this dramatic weight loss, starvation may impact fin and skin health, scale loss, and other welfare indicators.29

REFERENCES

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

19 NOTE: Other figures shown in the SSAT report are speculative projections—not actual production.

20 Undercurrent News. 2017. Land-based salmon farmer: ‘There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us’. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/11/08/land-based-salmon-farmer-theres-nobody-yet-thats-made-money-including-us/

21 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise

22 Salmon Business. 2017. Land based farms in Canada years away from being profitable. https://salmonbusiness.com/land-based-farms-in-canada-years-away-from-being-profitable/

23 Salmon Business. 2020. Quarter of a million salmon die at Atlantic Sapphire’s Danish RAS facility News https://salmonbusiness.com/quarter-of-a-million-salmon-die-at-atlantic-sapphires-danish-ras-facility/

24 Ibid.

25 Poulsen, K. 2020. Equity Analyst on Atlantic Sapphire mortality: “It is likely that the batch affected was the next to be harvested”. https://salmonbusiness.com/equity-analyst-on-atlantic-sapphire-mortality-it-is-likely-that-the-batch-affected-was-the-next-to-be-harvested/

26 Burr, G., Wolters, W.R., Schrader, K.K. and Summerfelt, S.T. 2012. Impact of depuration of earthy-musty off-flavors on fillet quality of Atlantic salmon, Salmon salar, cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0144860912000192

27 Sapin, R. 2019. Land-based salmon farming’s dirty little secret. https://www.intrafish.com/aquaculture/land-based-salmon-farmings-dirty-little-secret/2-1-746092

28 International Salmon Farmers Association. 2016. The evolution of land based Atlantic salmon farms. http://www.salmonfarming.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ISFA_LandFarmingreport_web.pdf

29 Sapin, R. 2019. Land-based salmon farming’s dirty little secret. https://www.intrafish.com/aquaculture/land-based-salmon-farmings-dirty-little-secret/2-1-746092

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers support continued research, development and adoption of salmon farming technologies that reduce the potential risk to wild salmon, including land-based closed containment.

Land-based salmon facilities are in various stages of development in many countries, e.g. China, Denmark, US, Japan, Canada, Norway, Faroe Island, and Chile.17 However, actual salmon production from these facilities has been extremely limited. For example, the actual production of the land-based production systems listed in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology report18 currently produce less than 6500 tonnes annually19—which is less than .03% of global farmed salmon production. Moreover, none of these facilities has achieved profitability. Even individuals associated with land-based systems dismiss the possibility of land-based facilities achieving profitability in the short term—and some question whether land-based production could ever contribute significantly to supplying the global demand for salmon.20,21,22

The challenges of growing salmon in land-based facilities were emphasized by the March 2, 2020 announcement by a Danish land-based facility that a quarter million of its fish had died in a single, massive mortality event.23 This loss of fish follows a 2017 mortality event at the same facility during which 250 tonnes of fish died.24 According to a salmon equity analyst, this latest mortality event emphasizes that land-based salmon production is still in a constant developmental phase.25

Large mortality events are not the only difficulty confronting land-based salmon famers. Even when salmon reared in land-based systems survive to market size, these fish are tainted with earthy and musty off-flavors that consumers find unacceptable. These flavors are typically caused by metabolites (geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol) released by microbes that grow within the land-based systems.26

In 2019, Atlantic Sapphire—the company attempting to become the world’s largest land-based salmon producer—openly acknowledged that off-flavours are one of the company's major risk factors:

“If the group is not successfully managing the air and water quality parameters at its production facilities and removal of off-flavour compounds from the fish in its 'finishing' system, the accumulated off-flavours and odours in the fish flesh from the circulating water may decrease the meat quality of the group's products, adversely [impacting] the marketability of the products and the group's business, future profitability and cash flows.”27

Currently, the only reliable method to mitigate the off-flavors is to transfer the fish to separate, odor-free depuration systems that are continually flushed with new water (i.e. recirculated water cannot be used) for a 5-10 day period. If all of BC’s annual farmed salmon production were grown in land-based systems, 4.2 billion litres of new water would be needed every hour for this depuration process. In other words, for each 24 hours, 100 billion litres of water would be needed—making a total water requirement of 1000 billion litres for a 10-day depuration period.28

In addition to the environmental concern with this huge water requirement, the depuration process raises animal welfare concerns. To ensure that the off-flavours are cleared, the fish must be starved during the 10-day depuration period—during which lose 5-10% of their body weight. In addition to this dramatic weight loss, starvation may impact fin and skin health, scale loss, and other welfare indicators.29

REFERENCES

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

18 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

19 NOTE: Other figures shown in the SSAT report are speculative projections—not actual production.

20 Undercurrent News. 2017. Land-based salmon farmer: ‘There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us’. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/11/08/land-based-salmon-farmer-theres-nobody-yet-thats-made-money-including-us/

21 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise

22 Salmon Business. 2017. Land based farms in Canada years away from being profitable. https://salmonbusiness.com/land-based-farms-in-canada-years-away-from-being-profitable/

23 Salmon Business. 2020. Quarter of a million salmon die at Atlantic Sapphire’s Danish RAS facility News https://salmonbusiness.com/quarter-of-a-million-salmon-die-at-atlantic-sapphires-danish-ras-facility/

24 Ibid.

25 Poulsen, K. 2020. Equity Analyst on Atlantic Sapphire mortality: “It is likely that the batch affected was the next to be harvested”. https://salmonbusiness.com/equity-analyst-on-atlantic-sapphire-mortality-it-is-likely-that-the-batch-affected-was-the-next-to-be-harvested/

26 Burr, G., Wolters, W.R., Schrader, K.K. and Summerfelt, S.T. 2012. Impact of depuration of earthy-musty off-flavors on fillet quality of Atlantic salmon, Salmon salar, cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0144860912000192

27 Sapin, R. 2019. Land-based salmon farming’s dirty little secret. https://www.intrafish.com/aquaculture/land-based-salmon-farmings-dirty-little-secret/2-1-746092

28 International Salmon Farmers Association. 2016. The evolution of land based Atlantic salmon farms. http://www.salmonfarming.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ISFA_LandFarmingreport_web.pdf

29 Sapin, R. 2019. Land-based salmon farming’s dirty little secret. https://www.intrafish.com/aquaculture/land-based-salmon-farmings-dirty-little-secret/2-1-746092

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Land-based salmon farming is now economically viable for BC salmon farmers.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Land-based salmon farming is now economically viable for BC salmon farmers.”

THE REALITY

Even BC’s land-based fish farmers dismiss the possibility of land-based facilities achieving profitability in the short term—and some question whether land-based production could ever contribute significantly to supplying the global demand for salmon30,31,32.

THE REALITY

Even BC’s land-based fish farmers dismiss the possibility of land-based facilities achieving profitability in the short term—and some question whether land-based production could ever contribute significantly to supplying the global demand for salmon30,31,32.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Land-based salmon facilities are in various stages of development in many countries, e.g. China, Denmark, US, Japan, Canada, Norway, Faroe Island, and Chile.33 However, actual salmon production from these facilities has been extremely limited. For example, the actual production of the land-based systems listed in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s The State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology (SSAT) report34 currently produce less 6500 tonnes annually35—which is less than .03% of global farmed salmon production. Moreover, none of these facilities has achieved profitability.

According to Steve Atkinson, president of Taste of BC Aquafarms, a land-based steelhead farm in Nanaimo BC:

“There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us. As far as transferring the net cage industry into land-based operations, we’re years away, and probably it is not even a viable goal.”36

The profitability of BC land-based systems is challenged by high production costs due to the need for supplemental oxygen and power to operate the systems. Since there are no economies of scale associated with these costs, cost reductions cannot be achieved by expanding production capacity. To cover these costs, BC salmon reared on land must be priced at least 30% higher than ocean reared salmon. After 6 years of production and market development, Golden Eagle Enterprises, a land-based coho facility in Agassiz BC, found that the market was unwilling to pay the premium price necessary to make its land-based production profitable. Golden Eagle therefore ceased operations in June 2020.37

The history of the BC-based Kuterra land-based facility provides an additional case in point. Owned by the ‘Namgis First Nation, Kuterra failed to bring economic development and employment to the ‘Namgis First Nation during its period of operation. Despite significant government and philanthropic funding—along with considerable investment by the ‘Namgis First Nation—Kuterra was unable to achieve profitability. Eventually, in 2017, the ‘Namgis First Nation declared that it was “no longer in a position to carry the financial risk of the venture.”38

REFERENCES

30 Undercurrent News. 2017. Land-based salmon farmer: ‘There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us’. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/11/08/land-based-salmon-farmer-theres-nobody-yet-thats-made-money-including-us/

31 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

32 Salmon Business. 2017. Land based farms in Canada years away from being profitable. https://salmonbusiness.com/land-based-farms-in-canada-years-away-from-being-profitable/

33 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

34 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

35 Other figures shown in the SSAT report are speculative projection—not actual production.

36 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise

37 T. Brooks. 2020. President of Golden Eagle Enterprises. Agassiz, BC.

38 Shore, R. 2017. Land-based Atlantic salmon farm ordered to shut down as buyer sought. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/land-based-atlantic-salmon-farm-ordered-to-shut-down-as-buyer-sought

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Land-based salmon facilities are in various stages of development in many countries, e.g. China, Denmark, US, Japan, Canada, Norway, Faroe Island, and Chile.33 However, actual salmon production from these facilities has been extremely limited. For example, the actual production of the land-based systems listed in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s The State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology (SSAT) report34 currently produce less 6500 tonnes annually35—which is less than .03% of global farmed salmon production. Moreover, none of these facilities has achieved profitability.

According to Steve Atkinson, president of Taste of BC Aquafarms, a land-based steelhead farm in Nanaimo BC:

“There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us. As far as transferring the net cage industry into land-based operations, we’re years away, and probably it is not even a viable goal.”36

The profitability of BC land-based systems is challenged by high production costs due to the need for supplemental oxygen and power to operate the systems. Since there are no economies of scale associated with these costs, cost reductions cannot be achieved by expanding production capacity. To cover these costs, BC salmon reared on land must be priced at least 30% higher than ocean reared salmon. After 6 years of production and market development, Golden Eagle Enterprises, a land-based coho facility in Agassiz BC, found that the market was unwilling to pay the premium price necessary to make its land-based production profitable. Golden Eagle therefore ceased operations in June 2020.37

The history of the BC-based Kuterra land-based facility provides an additional case in point. Owned by the ‘Namgis First Nation, Kuterra failed to bring economic development and employment to the ‘Namgis First Nation during its period of operation. Despite significant government and philanthropic funding—along with considerable investment by the ‘Namgis First Nation—Kuterra was unable to achieve profitability. Eventually, in 2017, the ‘Namgis First Nation declared that it was “no longer in a position to carry the financial risk of the venture.”38

REFERENCES

30 Undercurrent News. 2017. Land-based salmon farmer: ‘There’s nobody yet that’s made money, including us’. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/11/08/land-based-salmon-farmer-theres-nobody-yet-thats-made-money-including-us/

31 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

32 Salmon Business. 2017. Land based farms in Canada years away from being profitable. https://salmonbusiness.com/land-based-farms-in-canada-years-away-from-being-profitable/

33 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

34 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

35 Other figures shown in the SSAT report are speculative projection—not actual production.

36 Bennet, N. 2017. Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise. https://biv.com/article/2017/11/fish-out-ocean-water-dampen-aquaculture-enterprise

37 T. Brooks. 2020. President of Golden Eagle Enterprises. Agassiz, BC.

38 Shore, R. 2017. Land-based Atlantic salmon farm ordered to shut down as buyer sought. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/land-based-atlantic-salmon-farm-ordered-to-shut-down-as-buyer-sought

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Closed containment has fewer impacts on the environment than ocean net pen aquaculture.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Closed containment has fewer impacts on the environment than ocean net pen aquaculture.”

THE REALITY

Contrary to the claims of proponents of land-based salmon farming, rearing BC’s annual farmed salmon production in closed containment systems would have a significant environmental impact due to:
High water demand,
high wastewater production, and
high energy demands.

THE REALITY

Contrary to the claims of proponents of land-based salmon farming, rearing BC’s annual farmed salmon production in closed containment systems would have a significant environmental impact due to:
High water demand,
high wastewater production, and
high energy demands.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Water Demand

Literature on land-based RAS systems frequently contains statements such as: ‘most water is continuously treated and re-used’ and ‘the water demand of land-based RAS systems is minimal’. However, moving Canada’s current level of salmon production to land-based systems would create a very large demand for water—and a very large amount of wastewater requiring disposal.

The International Salmon Farmers Association’s (ISFA) report entitled The Evolution of Land-Based Atlantic Salmon Farms calculated that for BC’s annual farmed salmon production volume, 4.2 billion litres of water would be needed just to fill the tanks to grow the fish. In addition, another 10-15% daily addition of make-up water would be needed (420 million litres per day). Then, when the fish are ready for harvest, a 10-day depuration period is needed to rid the fish of the musty growing water taste. The depuration process requires a total tank replacement with clean water every hour (i.e., 4.2 billion litres per hour). In other words, for each 24 hours, 100 billion litres of water would be required—thereby generating a total water demand for a 10-day depuration period of 1000 billion litres.

ISFA’s predictions of the high water demands of land-based facilities are supported by the operational plans for the large Atlantic Sapphire facility being constructed in Florida. If it is able to achieve commercially viable levels of production, operational plans dictate that it will pump in over 2 million litres of freshwater and 59 million litres of saline water each day40

Wastewater Production

Many of the planned large scale land-based production systems will not only have a huge water demand – but they will also generate large volumes of wastewater requiring disposal. For example, Atlantic Sapphire will dispose of 76 million litres of wastewater each day down an aquifer. Representatives for Atlantic Sapphire have stated that they chose Florida as the location of their facility because it would allow them to dispose of large volumes of wastewater into a system of aquifers.41 Atlantic Sapphire suggests that disposing of wastewater down the aquifer is an environmentally sound practice. However—even if it is—the environmental impact of other land-based facilities that lack a convenient place to dump their wastewater must be considered. For example, dumping would not be feasible in BC due to geologic differences.

Energy Demand

As highlighted by Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Bernadette Jordan,42 her department’s 2019 State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology report43 determined that a significant increase in energy usage would be required for the construction and operation of closed containment systems in BC. She further noted that the increased energy requirements would be accompanied by a corresponding rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

REFERENCES

40 Hufman, J. 2018. Atlantic Sapphire’s land-based salmon plant on track for 2020. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2018/02/05/atlantic-sapphires-land-based-salmon-plant-on-track-for-2020/

41 Dahlberg, N. 2018. Florida, the Salmon State? It could happen soon. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article205736704.html

42 Dawson, F. 2020. Energy use, emissions will increase with land-based fish farms, but…. https://seawestnews.com/energy-use-emissions-will-increase-with-land-based-fish-farms-but/

43 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

44 Dawson, F. 2020. Energy use, emissions will increase with land-based fish farms, but…. https://seawestnews.com/energy-use-emissions-will-increase-with-land-based-fish-farms-but/

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Water Demand

Literature on land-based RAS systems frequently contains statements such as: ‘most water is continuously treated and re-used’ and ‘the water demand of land-based RAS systems is minimal’. However, moving Canada’s current level of salmon production to land-based systems would create a very large demand for water—and a very large amount of wastewater requiring disposal.

The International Salmon Farmers Association’s (ISFA) report entitled The Evolution of Land-Based Atlantic Salmon Farms calculated that for BC’s annual farmed salmon production volume, 4.2 billion litres of water would be needed just to fill the tanks to grow the fish. In addition, another 10-15% daily addition of make-up water would be needed (420 million litres per day). Then, when the fish are ready for harvest, a 10-day depuration period is needed to rid the fish of the musty growing water taste. The depuration process requires a total tank replacement with clean water every hour (i.e., 4.2 billion litres per hour). In other words, for each 24 hours, 100 billion litres of water would be required—thereby generating a total water demand for a 10-day depuration period of 1000 billion litres.

ISFA’s predictions of the high water demands of land-based facilities are supported by the operational plans for the large Atlantic Sapphire facility being constructed in Florida. If it is able to achieve commercially viable levels of production, operational plans dictate that it will pump in over 2 million litres of freshwater and 59 million litres of saline water each day40

Wastewater Production

Many of the planned large scale land-based production systems will not only have a huge water demand – but they will also generate large volumes of wastewater requiring disposal. For example, Atlantic Sapphire will dispose of 76 million litres of wastewater each day down an aquifer. Representatives for Atlantic Sapphire have stated that they chose Florida as the location of their facility because it would allow them to dispose of large volumes of wastewater into a system of aquifers.41 Atlantic Sapphire suggests that disposing of wastewater down the aquifer is an environmentally sound practice. However—even if it is—the environmental impact of other land-based facilities that lack a convenient place to dump their wastewater must be considered. For example, dumping would not be feasible in BC due to geologic differences.

Energy Demand

As highlighted by Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Bernadette Jordan,42 her department’s 2019 State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology report43 determined that a significant increase in energy usage would be required for the construction and operation of closed containment systems in BC. She further noted that the increased energy requirements would be accompanied by a corresponding rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

REFERENCES

40 Hufman, J. 2018. Atlantic Sapphire’s land-based salmon plant on track for 2020. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2018/02/05/atlantic-sapphires-land-based-salmon-plant-on-track-for-2020/

41 Dahlberg, N. 2018. Florida, the Salmon State? It could happen soon. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article205736704.html

42 Dawson, F. 2020. Energy use, emissions will increase with land-based fish farms, but…. https://seawestnews.com/energy-use-emissions-will-increase-with-land-based-fish-farms-but/

43 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

44 Dawson, F. 2020. Energy use, emissions will increase with land-based fish farms, but…. https://seawestnews.com/energy-use-emissions-will-increase-with-land-based-fish-farms-but/

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Closed containment guarantees wild salmon recovery.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Closed containment guarantees wild salmon recovery.”

THE REALITY

A series of comprehensive inquiries and scientific studies have concluded that salmon farms are not having a discernable impact on populations of wild salmon. Factors consistently identified as negatively impacting salmon stocks include: climate change, logging, urban development, industrial pollution, and overfishing.45

THE REALITY

A series of comprehensive inquiries and scientific studies have concluded that salmon farms are not having a discernable impact on populations of wild salmon. Factors consistently identified as negatively impacting salmon stocks include: climate change, logging, urban development, industrial pollution, and overfishing.45

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded “Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term declines.46

The conclusion of the Cohen Commission is supported by several extensive data sets and scientific publications that show variations in the returns of stocks of Pacific salmon species are unrelated to the presence or absence of salmon farms. These include:

  • The 32nd Annual Report of the Pacific Salmon Commission showed a significant downward trend in commercial sockeye harvest data from the Alaska fishery between 1985 and 2016.47
  • In BC’s coastal waters, Beamish et al. (2004) showed that production of both Pink and Sockeye salmon from the Fraser River followed trends that changed in relation to trends in climate.48
  • Despite predictions by ENGOs that sea lice from salmon farms would cause a 99% collapse in Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago by 2014, returns in 2014 were ~3.9 times greater that 2006 returns. In fact, DFO Escapement data indicates that the three largest returns of Pink salmon to the Broughton Archipelago have occurred since the beginning of salmon farming in the region.49
  • A 2011 study comparing the health of wild Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago (an area with 20 salmon farms) with Pinks from the BC central coast (a reference area to the north without salmon farms) concluded that “...there was no detectable difference in mean survival for the Broughton Archipelago relative to the central coast.”50
  • A 2015 scientific publication from researchers based in the State of Washington and Simon Fraser University reported no relation between farm fish production in the Discovery Islands and Fraser River Sockeye salmon returns.51
REFERENCES

45 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

46 Cohen, 2012. Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River: The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye. Volume 2. Causes of the Decline. Final Report. October 2012. The Honourable Bruce I. Cohen, Commissioner. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2012/bcp-pco/CP32-93-2012-2-eng.pdf.

47 32nd Annual Report (2016/17). Pacific Salmon Commission. p. 31. 3 http://www.psc.org/publications/annual-reports/commission/

48 Beamish, R. J., Schnute, J. T., Cass, A. J., Neville, C. M., & Sweeting, R. M. (2004). The influence of climate on the stock and recruitment of pink and sockeye salmon from the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 133, 1396–1412. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1577/T03-221.1

49 DFO-NuSEDs, 2017. New Salmon Escapement Database. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. http://open.canada.ca/en/suggested-datasets/new-salmon-escapement-database-nuseds

50 Morton, A., R. Routledge, A. McConnell, and M. Krkosek. (2011). Sea lice dispersion and salmon survival in relation to salmon farm activity in the Broughton Archipelago. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 144–156. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/68/1/144/629517

51 Ruggerone, G.T. and Connors, B.M. (2015). Productivity and life history of sockeye salmon in relation to competition with pink and sockeye salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 818–833. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0134

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded “Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term declines.46

The conclusion of the Cohen Commission is supported by several extensive data sets and scientific publications that show variations in the returns of stocks of Pacific salmon species are unrelated to the presence or absence of salmon farms. These include:

  • The 32nd Annual Report of the Pacific Salmon Commission showed a significant downward trend in commercial sockeye harvest data from the Alaska fishery between 1985 and 2016.47
  • In BC’s coastal waters, Beamish et al. (2004) showed that production of both Pink and Sockeye salmon from the Fraser River followed trends that changed in relation to trends in climate.48
  • Despite predictions by ENGOs that sea lice from salmon farms would cause a 99% collapse in Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago by 2014, returns in 2014 were ~3.9 times greater that 2006 returns. In fact, DFO Escapement data indicates that the three largest returns of Pink salmon to the Broughton Archipelago have occurred since the beginning of salmon farming in the region.49
  • A 2011 study comparing the health of wild Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago (an area with 20 salmon farms) with Pinks from the BC central coast (a reference area to the north without salmon farms) concluded that “...there was no detectable difference in mean survival for the Broughton Archipelago relative to the central coast.”50
  • A 2015 scientific publication from researchers based in the State of Washington and Simon Fraser University reported no relation between farm fish production in the Discovery Islands and Fraser River Sockeye salmon returns.51
REFERENCES

45 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

46 Cohen, 2012. Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River: The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye. Volume 2. Causes of the Decline. Final Report. October 2012. The Honourable Bruce I. Cohen, Commissioner. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2012/bcp-pco/CP32-93-2012-2-eng.pdf.

47 32nd Annual Report (2016/17). Pacific Salmon Commission. p. 31. 3 http://www.psc.org/publications/annual-reports/commission/

48 Beamish, R. J., Schnute, J. T., Cass, A. J., Neville, C. M., & Sweeting, R. M. (2004). The influence of climate on the stock and recruitment of pink and sockeye salmon from the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 133, 1396–1412. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1577/T03-221.1

49 DFO-NuSEDs, 2017. New Salmon Escapement Database. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. http://open.canada.ca/en/suggested-datasets/new-salmon-escapement-database-nuseds

50 Morton, A., R. Routledge, A. McConnell, and M. Krkosek. (2011). Sea lice dispersion and salmon survival in relation to salmon farm activity in the Broughton Archipelago. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 144–156. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/68/1/144/629517

51 Ruggerone, G.T. and Connors, B.M. (2015). Productivity and life history of sockeye salmon in relation to competition with pink and sockeye salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 818–833. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0134

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“No BC jobs will be lost if the industry moves to closed containment on land.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“No BC jobs will be lost if the industry moves to closed containment on land.”

THE REALITY

Globally, the major farmed salmon closed containment facilities are being constructed close to major markets. Given their distance from major farmed salmon markets, BC land-based systems would face a significant competitive disadvantage. With their departure, First Nations and coastal communities would lose a key contributor to their economic survival. And BC would lose a $1.5 billion industry.

THE REALITY

Globally, the major farmed salmon closed containment facilities are being constructed close to major markets. Given their distance from major farmed salmon markets, BC land-based systems would face a significant competitive disadvantage. With their departure, First Nations and coastal communities would lose a key contributor to their economic survival. And BC would lose a $1.5 billion industry.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Globally, the major farmed salmon closed containment facilities are being constructed close to major markets. For example, significant land-based developments in Florida and Maine are strategically situated to supply the Eastern US market,—while the site of the development in Humboldt County, California was specifically chosen due to its proximity to San Francisco. 54

Given their distance from major farmed salmon markets, BC land-based systems would face a significant competitive disadvantage. Therefore, if salmon farming companies adopted closed containment systems, it is likely that they would have to relocate their operations nearer to their primary markets. With their departure, First Nations and coastal communities would lose a key contributor to their economic survival. And BC would lose a $1.5 billion industry.

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2019 report entitled State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies (SSAT) reinforces the likelihood of this relocation by stating that the higher costs of closed containment systems could be offset by locating in proximity to consumer markets to reduce transportation costs.55

The SSAT report repeatedly emphasizes the likelihood that the adoption of closed containment would result in significant job loss for BC. For example:

  • In discussing the power requirements of recirculating aquaculture (RAS) systems, the report states, “Grid-connected three-phase power is needed, so remote sites where marine net pen operations currently run on diesel would not meet requirements (page 15).” This requirement would essentially exclude all current salmon farming sites that First Nations and coastal communities rely upon for their economic survival.
  • In discussing closed containment supply chain requirements, the report states “As large-scale land-based systems are being developed particularly in the U.S., the advantages in B.C. are not sufficient to have already attracted large developments, and supply-chains will now be developing elsewhere (page 32).”
  • In discussing the impact of closed containment on employment, the report states “…the location of these systems is completely flexible so coastal employment opportunities may be lost as production moves closer to consumer markets and distribution centres (page 32).”
REFERENCES

52 Brinkman, P. 2020. New fish farm near Miami aims to grow major portion of US salmon supply. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

53 Evans, O. 2018. CEO of Nordic Aquafarms outlines vision for Maine “Little River” salmon. https://salmonbusiness.com/ceo-of-nordic-aquafarms-outlines-vision-for-maine-little-river-salmon/

54 Evans, O. 2019. Nordic Aquafarms to build huge indoor fish farm in California. https://salmonbusiness.com/nordic-aquafarms-to-huge-indoor-fish-farm-in-california/

55 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Globally, the major farmed salmon closed containment facilities are being constructed close to major markets. For example, significant land-based developments in Florida and Maine are strategically situated to supply the Eastern US market,—while the site of the development in Humboldt County, California was specifically chosen due to its proximity to San Francisco. 54

Given their distance from major farmed salmon markets, BC land-based systems would face a significant competitive disadvantage. Therefore, if salmon farming companies adopted closed containment systems, it is likely that they would have to relocate their operations nearer to their primary markets. With their departure, First Nations and coastal communities would lose a key contributor to their economic survival. And BC would lose a $1.5 billion industry.

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2019 report entitled State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies (SSAT) reinforces the likelihood of this relocation by stating that the higher costs of closed containment systems could be offset by locating in proximity to consumer markets to reduce transportation costs.55

The SSAT report repeatedly emphasizes the likelihood that the adoption of closed containment would result in significant job loss for BC. For example:

  • In discussing the power requirements of recirculating aquaculture (RAS) systems, the report states, “Grid-connected three-phase power is needed, so remote sites where marine net pen operations currently run on diesel would not meet requirements (page 15).” This requirement would essentially exclude all current salmon farming sites that First Nations and coastal communities rely upon for their economic survival.
  • In discussing closed containment supply chain requirements, the report states “As large-scale land-based systems are being developed particularly in the U.S., the advantages in B.C. are not sufficient to have already attracted large developments, and supply-chains will now be developing elsewhere (page 32).”
  • In discussing the impact of closed containment on employment, the report states “…the location of these systems is completely flexible so coastal employment opportunities may be lost as production moves closer to consumer markets and distribution centres (page 32).”
REFERENCES

52 Brinkman, P. 2020. New fish farm near Miami aims to grow major portion of US salmon supply. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

53 Evans, O. 2018. CEO of Nordic Aquafarms outlines vision for Maine “Little River” salmon. https://salmonbusiness.com/ceo-of-nordic-aquafarms-outlines-vision-for-maine-little-river-salmon/

54 Evans, O. 2019. Nordic Aquafarms to build huge indoor fish farm in California. https://salmonbusiness.com/nordic-aquafarms-to-huge-indoor-fish-farm-in-california/

55 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies. p.30 http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/documents/publications/ssat-ets-en.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of dyes.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of dyes.”

THE REALITY

The characteristic pink to red-orange colour of wild and farmed salmon is due to the presence of two molecules called astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. In addition to salmon, astaxanthin gives many crustaceans – such as shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster – their characteristic colour. Salmon require astaxanthin for proper growth and development. They get this essential nutrient from the food they eat.

SHARE

THE REALITY

The characteristic pink to red-orange colour of wild and farmed salmon is due to the presence of two molecules called astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. In addition to salmon, astaxanthin gives many crustaceans – such as shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster – their characteristic colour. Salmon require astaxanthin for proper growth and development. They get this essential nutrient from the food they eat.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

“There are significant cardiovascular benefits from eating omega-3 rich seafood like farmed salmon. Seafood is likely the single most important food one can consume for good health.”

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health1

Carotenoids

The characteristic pink to red-orange color of wild and farmed salmon is due to the presence of two molecules called astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. In addition to salmon, astaxanthin gives many crustaceans – such as shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster – their characteristic colour.

Astaxanthin and canthaxanthin are members of a class of naturally occurring pigments known as carotenoids. Living organisms require carotenoids for their proper growth and development. Carotenoids are like vitamins; if intakes are inadequate, health may be compromised. Only plants - and their microscopic relatives called microalgae – can actually make carotenoids. Animals must obtain carotenoids by eating plant material – or by eating an animal that consumes plant material.

Wild salmon fulfill their requirement for astaxanthin by eating small crustaceans and fish – whose food sources include the carotenoid-producing microalgae. Like their wild relatives, farmed salmon also need astaxanthin for their normal growth and development.

As farmers, we control and manage the food that our fish eat - and we ensure that their food contains all of the nutrients they need, including carotenoids, along with other key vitamins and minerals, to ensure good health as well as proper skin and flesh color.

REFERENCES

1 Harvard Press. 2006. New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks. http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

“There are significant cardiovascular benefits from eating omega-3 rich seafood like farmed salmon. Seafood is likely the single most important food one can consume for good health.”

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health1

Carotenoids

The characteristic pink to red-orange color of wild and farmed salmon is due to the presence of two molecules called astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. In addition to salmon, astaxanthin gives many crustaceans – such as shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster – their characteristic colour.

Astaxanthin and canthaxanthin are members of a class of naturally occurring pigments known as carotenoids. Living organisms require carotenoids for their proper growth and development. Carotenoids are like vitamins; if intakes are inadequate, health may be compromised. Only plants - and their microscopic relatives called microalgae – can actually make carotenoids. Animals must obtain carotenoids by eating plant material – or by eating an animal that consumes plant material.

Wild salmon fulfill their requirement for astaxanthin by eating small crustaceans and fish – whose food sources include the carotenoid-producing microalgae. Like their wild relatives, farmed salmon also need astaxanthin for their normal growth and development.

As farmers, we control and manage the food that our fish eat - and we ensure that their food contains all of the nutrients they need, including carotenoids, along with other key vitamins and minerals, to ensure good health as well as proper skin and flesh color.

REFERENCES

1 Harvard Press. 2006. New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks. http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of contaminants like PCBs.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of contaminants like PCBs.”

THE REALITY

PCBs belong to a group of chemicals called ‘persistant organic pollutants’ (POPs) resulting from historic industrial pollution and waste disposal. POPs are ubiquitous in the environment. Therefore, all living creatures consume POPs through the food they eat. However, farmed salmon are fed specially formulated diets that meet stringent quality controls. As a result, the levels of POPs in farmed salmon are well below the tolerance levels set by Health Canada.2.

THE REALITY

PCBs belong to a group of chemicals called ‘persistant organic pollutants’ (POPs) resulting from historic industrial pollution and waste disposal. POPs are ubiquitous in the environment. Therefore, all living creatures consume POPs through the food they eat. However, farmed salmon are fed specially formulated diets that meet stringent quality controls. As a result, the levels of POPs in farmed salmon are well below the tolerance levels set by Health Canada.2.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are group of chemicals that may adversely affect human health and the environment. POPs may include:3

  • Intentionally produced chemicals used in agriculture, disease control, manufacturing, or industrial processes. For example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in a variety of industrial applications (e.g., in electrical transformers and large capacitors, as hydraulic and heat exchange fluids, and as additives to paints and lubricants)
  • Unintentionally produced chemicals, such as dioxins, that result from some industrial processes and from combustion (for example, municipal and medical waste incineration and backyard burning of trash).

Increasingly stringent controls on industrial pollution and waste management have reduced the release of POPs into the environment. However, because these pollutants break down very slowly, POPs released in the past are still detectable in trace amounts in the air, water and soil in virtually all parts of the global ecosystem.4

The POPs in wild salmon come from the small crustaceans and fish that they feed upon; those in farmed salmon come from the small fish and fish processing byproducts used to make salmon feed. Even though POP levels in farmed salmon were already very low, salmon feed manufacturers have worked diligently to reduce levels even further. POP reductions in feed have been achieved by:

  • Sourcing raw products for salmon feed from geographic areas known to have comparatively low POP levels.
  • Developing methods to substantially cleanse POPs from fish oil used for salmon feed.5,6
  • Inclusion of vegetable oils (that do not contain POPs), in combination with fish oil, in the manufacture of salmon feed.7,8

Through these innovative approaches, POP levels in farmed salmon have decreased by as much as 211%.9

In 2006, a Harvard study reported that the levels of PCBs and dioxins in fish species are low - similar to other commonly consumed foods such as beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and butter. The study also found that only ~9% of the PCBs and dioxins in the food supply come from fish and other seafood; more than 90% comes from other foods such as meats, vegetables, and dairy products.10

REFERENCES

2 Ikonomou, M.G., Higgs, D.A., Gibbs, M., Oakes, J., Skura, J.B., Mckinley, S., Balfry, S. K., Jones, S., Withler, R., And Dubetz, C. 2007. Flesh Quality Of Market-Size Farmed And Wild British Columbia Salmon. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6494428_Flesh_quality_of_market-size_farmed_and_wild_British_Columbia_salmon

3 US Environmental Protection Agency. Persistent Organic Pollutants: A Global Issue, A Global Response. https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/persistent-organic-pollutants-global-issue-global-response#pops

4 Health Canada. PCBs: It’s Your Health. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/pcbs.html

5 Marine Harvest. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p.45. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

6 Nøstbakken, O.J., Hove, H.T., Duinker, A., Lundebye. A-K., Berntssen, M.H.J., Hannisdal, R., Lunestad, B.T., Maage, A., Madsen, L., Torstensen, B.E., Julshamn, K. 2015. Contaminant levels in Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041201400302X

7 Friesen, E. 2008. Use of alternative feed ingredients and the effects on growth and flesh quality of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria).

8 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432118057937/aquaculture-sustainability-report-2017.pdf

9 Marine Harvest. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p.50. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

10 Mozaffarian, D. and Rimm, E.B. 2006. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/203640

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are group of chemicals that may adversely affect human health and the environment. POPs may include:3

  • Intentionally produced chemicals used in agriculture, disease control, manufacturing, or industrial processes. For example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in a variety of industrial applications (e.g., in electrical transformers and large capacitors, as hydraulic and heat exchange fluids, and as additives to paints and lubricants)
  • Unintentionally produced chemicals, such as dioxins, that result from some industrial processes and from combustion (for example, municipal and medical waste incineration and backyard burning of trash).

Increasingly stringent controls on industrial pollution and waste management have reduced the release of POPs into the environment. However, because these pollutants break down very slowly, POPs released in the past are still detectable in trace amounts in the air, water and soil in virtually all parts of the global ecosystem.4

The POPs in wild salmon come from the small crustaceans and fish that they feed upon; those in farmed salmon come from the small fish and fish processing byproducts used to make salmon feed. Even though POP levels in farmed salmon were already very low, salmon feed manufacturers have worked diligently to reduce levels even further. POP reductions in feed have been achieved by:

  • Sourcing raw products for salmon feed from geographic areas known to have comparatively low POP levels.
  • Developing methods to substantially cleanse POPs from fish oil used for salmon feed.5,6
  • Inclusion of vegetable oils (that do not contain POPs), in combination with fish oil, in the manufacture of salmon feed.7,8

Through these innovative approaches, POP levels in farmed salmon have decreased by as much as 211%.9

In 2006, a Harvard study reported that the levels of PCBs and dioxins in fish species are low - similar to other commonly consumed foods such as beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and butter. The study also found that only ~9% of the PCBs and dioxins in the food supply come from fish and other seafood; more than 90% comes from other foods such as meats, vegetables, and dairy products.10

REFERENCES

2 Ikonomou, M.G., Higgs, D.A., Gibbs, M., Oakes, J., Skura, J.B., Mckinley, S., Balfry, S. K., Jones, S., Withler, R., And Dubetz, C. 2007. Flesh Quality Of Market-Size Farmed And Wild British Columbia Salmon. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6494428_Flesh_quality_of_market-size_farmed_and_wild_British_Columbia_salmon

3 US Environmental Protection Agency. Persistent Organic Pollutants: A Global Issue, A Global Response. https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/persistent-organic-pollutants-global-issue-global-response#pops

4 Health Canada. PCBs: It’s Your Health. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/pcbs.html

5 Marine Harvest. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p.45. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

6 Nøstbakken, O.J., Hove, H.T., Duinker, A., Lundebye. A-K., Berntssen, M.H.J., Hannisdal, R., Lunestad, B.T., Maage, A., Madsen, L., Torstensen, B.E., Julshamn, K. 2015. Contaminant levels in Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041201400302X

7 Friesen, E. 2008. Use of alternative feed ingredients and the effects on growth and flesh quality of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria).

8 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432118057937/aquaculture-sustainability-report-2017.pdf

9 Marine Harvest. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p.50. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

10 Mozaffarian, D. and Rimm, E.B. 2006. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/203640

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of antibiotics.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Farmed salmon are full of antibiotics.”

THE REALITY

Farmed salmon are not routinely fed antibiotics. On the rare instances where an antibiotic is administered to treat illness, the treatment is prescribed and overseen by licenced veterinarians and is strictly regulated by provincial and federal authorities.

THE REALITY

Farmed salmon are not routinely fed antibiotics. On the rare instances where an antibiotic is administered to treat illness, the treatment is prescribed and overseen by licenced veterinarians and is strictly regulated by provincial and federal authorities.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

All farmed salmon receiving antibiotics undergo a lengthy cleanse period to ensure the medication has cleared their system before they are harvested. BC salmon farms have the longest regulated antibiotic cleanse period of any agricultural sector in the world.

The development of vaccines, together with stringent health management practices, has greatly reduced the need for antibiotics on salmon farms. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon.11 BC salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

However, despite all of the disease prevention measures taken by BC salmon farmers (for more information, see Fish Health section), some salmon do occasionally become ill. As with all farm animals, antibiotic treatment may sometimes be required. In those circumstances, a veterinarian will then prescribe a registered antibiotic that is approved by the Veterinary Drug Directorate of Health Canada.12 Prescribed antibiotic treatments are always in full accordance with the treatment protocol permitted by the Veterinary Drug Directorate for a specific illness.

Following antibiotic use, a strictly regulated withdrawal period and testing program ensures that no harvesting of the treated salmon occurs until the medication has cleared from their system. BC salmon farms have the longest regulated antibiotic withdrawal period of any agricultural sector in the world.

Market ready BC farmed salmon is routinely inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (and, for US exports, the Food and Drug Administration) to ensure that it meets government standards for the absence of antibiotic residue.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

All farmed salmon receiving antibiotics undergo a lengthy cleanse period to ensure the medication has cleared their system before they are harvested. BC salmon farms have the longest regulated antibiotic cleanse period of any agricultural sector in the world.

The development of vaccines, together with stringent health management practices, has greatly reduced the need for antibiotics on salmon farms. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon.11 BC salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

However, despite all of the disease prevention measures taken by BC salmon farmers (for more information, see Fish Health section), some salmon do occasionally become ill. As with all farm animals, antibiotic treatment may sometimes be required. In those circumstances, a veterinarian will then prescribe a registered antibiotic that is approved by the Veterinary Drug Directorate of Health Canada.12 Prescribed antibiotic treatments are always in full accordance with the treatment protocol permitted by the Veterinary Drug Directorate for a specific illness.

Following antibiotic use, a strictly regulated withdrawal period and testing program ensures that no harvesting of the treated salmon occurs until the medication has cleared from their system. BC salmon farms have the longest regulated antibiotic withdrawal period of any agricultural sector in the world.

Market ready BC farmed salmon is routinely inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (and, for US exports, the Food and Drug Administration) to ensure that it meets government standards for the absence of antibiotic residue.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Eating farmed fish isn’t as healthy as eating wild.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Eating farmed fish isn’t as healthy as eating wild.”

THE REALITY

Farmed salmon, like their wild counterparts, are a healthy and nutritious food. Farmed salmon is naturally low in saturated fat – and has about a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50% less saturated fat than chicken.

THE REALITY

Farmed salmon, like their wild counterparts, are a healthy and nutritious food. Farmed salmon is naturally low in saturated fat – and has about a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50% less saturated fat than chicken.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

“Seafood – like farmed salmon - is likely the single most important food one can consume for good health.”

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health13

Beyond being a low saturated fat, high quality protein source, farmed salmon is also an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Scientific studies have shown that increased consumption of Omega-3’s has a wide range of health benefits - including a lowered risk of coronary heart disease.14,15,16,17 Not only do Omega-3s help to prevent heart disease in people with no history of heart disease,18 but they may also dramatically cut the mortality rate in heart attack survivors.19

Other health benefits of increased consumption of farmed salmon include:

  • Reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are important components of the brain and nerves. Eating fish may therefore be favorable for optimal brain function. A study at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging revealed that consumption of fish once a week among people aged 65-94 reduced the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%, compared to those who rarely or never ate fish.20
  • Reduced rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood play a powerful role in modulating immune function. Omega-3s are beneficial in the management of inflammation, joint pain and auto-immune diseases - such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and lupus erythematosus.21,22
  • Important nutrition component for unborn and breast-fed babies. Seafood consumption during pregnancy and lactation may have a range of benefits. Omega-3s are needed to build a developing child’s nervous system – and are critical for normal eye and vision development in infants.23 Increased consumption of Omega-3s may also protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Other studies suggest that Omega-3s improve cognitive development. These positive effects persist beyond infancy to influence cognition in later childhood. Infants can obtain the benefit of omega-3’s from pregnant or nursing mothers who consumed fish.24
  • Reduced incidence of depression. A large body of scientific evidence indicates that Omega-3s are effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.25,26,27,28
REFERENCES

13 Harvard Press. 2006. New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks. http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html

14 Harvard Health. 2018. Seafood suggestion for heart health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/seafood-suggestions-for-heart-health

15 Harvard Health. 2014. Eating fish linked to fewer heart attacks. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eating-fish-linked-to-fewer-heart-attacks

16 The Harvard Gazette. 2019. Omega-3 fish oil rises to top in analysis of studies. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/09/major-study-finds-omega-3-supplements-may-reduce-risk-of-heart-attack/

17 Hu, Y., Hu, F.B., and Manson, J.E. 2019. Marine Omega‐3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease: An Updated Meta‐Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 127,477 Participants.https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.013543

18 Mozaffarian, D. 2008. Fish and n−3 fatty acids for the prevention of fatal coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/6/1991S/4633489

19 Jain, A.P., Aggarwal, K.K., Zhang, P.Y. 2015. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. https://www.europeanreview.org/article/8446

20 Morris, M.C., Evans, D.A., Bienias, J.L. 2003. Consumption of Fish and n-3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/784412

21 Rajaei, E., Mowla, K. and Dargahi-Malamir, M. 2016. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients With Active Rheumatoid Arthritis Receiving DMARDs Therapy: Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965662/

22 Zivkovic, A.M., Telis, N., and Hammock, B.D. 2011. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/

23 Heiting, G. 2017. Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.html

24 Mozaffarian, D. and Rimm, E.B. 2006. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/203640

25 Liao, Y, Xie, B. Zhang, H. He, Q., Subramaniapillai, M., Fan, B., Lu, C. and M. R.S. 2019. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5

26 Appleton, K. M., Sallis, H. M., Perry, R., Ness, A. R. and Churchill R. 2015. Omega-3 fatty acids for depression in adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26537796

27 Mocking, R. J., Marmsen, I., Assies, J., Koeter, M.W.J. Ruhe, H.G., and Schene, A.H. 2016. Meta-analysis and meta-regression of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for major depressive disorder. https://www.nature.com/articles/tp201629

28 Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Yassini-Ardakani, M., Karamati, M. and Shariati-Bafghi, S. E. 2013. Eicosapentaenoic acid versus docosahexaenoic acid in mild-to-moderate depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X12002210?via%3Dihub

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

“Seafood – like farmed salmon - is likely the single most important food one can consume for good health.”

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health13

Beyond being a low saturated fat, high quality protein source, farmed salmon is also an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Scientific studies have shown that increased consumption of Omega-3’s has a wide range of health benefits - including a lowered risk of coronary heart disease.14,15,16,17 Not only do Omega-3s help to prevent heart disease in people with no history of heart disease,18 but they may also dramatically cut the mortality rate in heart attack survivors.19

Other health benefits of increased consumption of farmed salmon include:

  • Reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are important components of the brain and nerves. Eating fish may therefore be favorable for optimal brain function. A study at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging revealed that consumption of fish once a week among people aged 65-94 reduced the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%, compared to those who rarely or never ate fish.20
  • Reduced rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood play a powerful role in modulating immune function. Omega-3s are beneficial in the management of inflammation, joint pain and auto-immune diseases - such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and lupus erythematosus.21,22
  • Important nutrition component for unborn and breast-fed babies. Seafood consumption during pregnancy and lactation may have a range of benefits. Omega-3s are needed to build a developing child’s nervous system – and are critical for normal eye and vision development in infants.23 Increased consumption of Omega-3s may also protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Other studies suggest that Omega-3s improve cognitive development. These positive effects persist beyond infancy to influence cognition in later childhood. Infants can obtain the benefit of omega-3’s from pregnant or nursing mothers who consumed fish.24
  • Reduced incidence of depression. A large body of scientific evidence indicates that Omega-3s are effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.25,26,27,28
REFERENCES

13 Harvard Press. 2006. New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks. http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html

14 Harvard Health. 2018. Seafood suggestion for heart health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/seafood-suggestions-for-heart-health

15 Harvard Health. 2014. Eating fish linked to fewer heart attacks. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eating-fish-linked-to-fewer-heart-attacks

16 The Harvard Gazette. 2019. Omega-3 fish oil rises to top in analysis of studies. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/09/major-study-finds-omega-3-supplements-may-reduce-risk-of-heart-attack/

17 Hu, Y., Hu, F.B., and Manson, J.E. 2019. Marine Omega‐3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease: An Updated Meta‐Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 127,477 Participants.https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.013543

18 Mozaffarian, D. 2008. Fish and n−3 fatty acids for the prevention of fatal coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/6/1991S/4633489

19 Jain, A.P., Aggarwal, K.K., Zhang, P.Y. 2015. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. https://www.europeanreview.org/article/8446

20 Morris, M.C., Evans, D.A., Bienias, J.L. 2003. Consumption of Fish and n-3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/784412

21 Rajaei, E., Mowla, K. and Dargahi-Malamir, M. 2016. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients With Active Rheumatoid Arthritis Receiving DMARDs Therapy: Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965662/

22 Zivkovic, A.M., Telis, N., and Hammock, B.D. 2011. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/

23 Heiting, G. 2017. Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.html

24 Mozaffarian, D. and Rimm, E.B. 2006. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/203640

25 Liao, Y, Xie, B. Zhang, H. He, Q., Subramaniapillai, M., Fan, B., Lu, C. and M. R.S. 2019. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5

26 Appleton, K. M., Sallis, H. M., Perry, R., Ness, A. R. and Churchill R. 2015. Omega-3 fatty acids for depression in adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26537796

27 Mocking, R. J., Marmsen, I., Assies, J., Koeter, M.W.J. Ruhe, H.G., and Schene, A.H. 2016. Meta-analysis and meta-regression of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for major depressive disorder. https://www.nature.com/articles/tp201629

28 Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Yassini-Ardakani, M., Karamati, M. and Shariati-Bafghi, S. E. 2013. Eicosapentaenoic acid versus docosahexaenoic acid in mild-to-moderate depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X12002210?via%3Dihub

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish waste from salmon farms harms the ecosystem.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish waste from salmon farms harms the ecosystem.”

THE REALITY

Even though salmon farming produces the least waste of any animal protein producing industry, BC salmon farmers work collaboratively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to minimize the impact that farmed salmon waste has on the marine environment.

SHARE

THE REALITY

Even though salmon farming produces the least waste of any animal protein producing industry, BC salmon farmers work collaboratively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to minimize the impact that farmed salmon waste has on the marine environment.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Waste production is an unavoidable consequence of our consumption of animal protein. All animal protein-producing industries (e.g. beef, pork, poultry, fish) produce waste. Waste production by these industries should always be considered relative to the amount of food they produce. Salmon farming produces less waste per kg of food produced than any other animal protein-producing industry. For each kg of food that a farmed salmon eats, .8kg is converted into body weight—so only .2kg is lost as waste byproducts. By comparison, for each kg of food that beef cattle eat, almost .9kg is lost as waste—while pork loses .6kg as waste and poultry loses .4kg.1

Regulations and Monitoring of the Seabed

Even though salmon farming produces the least waste of any animal protein producing industry, BC salmon farmers work collaboratively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to minimize the impact that farmed salmon waste has on the marine environment.

DFO has strict guidelines regarding where salmon farms may be located. The objective of these guidelines is to minimize potential impacts on the marine habitat below and surrounding the farm. Prior to establishing a new site, DFO Aquaculture Activities Regulations2 require that salmon farmers survey the seabed beneath the proposed site to establish baseline information on the overall health of the sea floor. The monitoring technologies and procedures utilized depend on the nature of the sea floor beneath the farm.3 In BC, the sea floor is generally defined as soft bottom or hard bottom.

For soft bottom sites, sediment samples are taken at 30 and 125 metres from both sides of the cage edge and analyzed for their level of free sulphides. A healthy seabed with plenty of oxygen will have low levels of sulphides.

At hard bottom sites (where sediment samples cannot be collected), underwater cameras are used to video the gravel, boulder or bedrock seabed at 100-124m from the net pen edge. The video is then reviewed for the presence of Beggiatoa bacteria and opportunistic polychaete complexes (OPCs). Their presence is an indicator of elevated sulphide levels.

After a salmon farm becomes operational, DFO’s Aquaculture Activities Regulations require salmon farmers to regularly conduct seabed monitoring to ensure the seabed remains healthy. Sediment samples or video must be taken at the peak of the farm production cycle, when the salmon are fully grown. Salmon farmers must submit reports on sampling results to DFO. DFO performs regular audits to verify industry results and methodology. Results of industry sampling and DFO audits are publicly available at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/protect-protege/waste-dechets-eng.html

According to DFO regulations, the soft bottom sediment samples taken at 30m from the farm must not exceed 1300μmol of free sulphides—while samples taken at 125m must not exceed 700μmol of free sulphides. At hard bottom sites, video of the area from 100 to 124 metres from the cage edge is assessed for impact. This area is broken into 6 segments. If more than 4 segments have > 10% cover of Beggiatoa or OPC, the threshold has been exceeded. If soft or hard bottom thresholds are exceeded, the site cannot be restocked with fish until recovery of the seabed has occurred.4

Since 2012, 85-90% of all BC salmon farms have been below threshold levels.5

Fallowing

In addition to adhering to DFO regulations, BC salmon farmers have implemented industry Best Practices to further ensure that the seabed around their farms is protected. According to these Best Practices, when salmon are harvested from a farm, the farm is left vacant (fallowed) for a short period of time before restocking.6 The fallowing process encourages the restoration of the seabed by allowing any waste matter to be naturally dispersed. A responsible and sustainable production schedule that allows for appropriate fallow times is essential to ensure no long-term impacts on seabed quality. Before transferring new fish, salmon farmers sample the seafloor below and around the farm site to ensure that the environmental parameters do not exceed the limits stipulated in DFO regulations.7

Reduced feed waste

As a further precaution, BC salmon farms now primarily use automated feed delivery systems that evenly distribute a set amount of feed throughout the pen at designated times. To avoid feed wastage due to overfeeding, feeding behaviour and unconsumed feed is closely monitored primarily via underwater video cameras. Increasingly, these feeding systems are supported by state-of-the art technologies such as:8

  • Feed spreaders—to regulate and improve feed distribution, thereby optimizing feed consumption and minimizing waste.
  • Production control software—to facilitate integration and analysis of camera and sensor data for optimization of both amount and rate of feeding, thereby minimizing waste.
  • Autonomous feeding systems—feed pellets floating in the pen are detected by pellet detection software that then uses learned behaviour to prevent
  • Real time environmental sensors/alarms—provide feed operators with in-situ environmental parameters that enable monitoring all changes in water quality—and allow them to deliver only as much food as the fish will eat.

Future Monitoring Tools

eDNA metabarcoding

The salmon farming industry will continue to implement all innovations that allow improved monitoring and protection of seabed habitat and organisms. The industry is currently validating environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding as a powerful new tool to complement existing monitoring technologies. The eDNA test uses DNA isolated from water or sediment samples to determine the composition and diversity of the seabed organisms living in the proximity to salmon farms. In addition to being rapid and cost-effective, eDNA-based seabed monitoring is more sensitive, more accurate, and more reliable than existing monitoring methods.9

Feed monitoring

The development and implementation of innovative camera solutions, coupled with machine-learning capabilities, will provide new and transformative insights e.g. it will allow measurement of growth-related parameters of more than 10,000 fish every day. With a precise tool for real-time biomass surveillance, the industry will be able to directly compare ‘feed fed’ with ‘weight gained’. This will be used to optimize feeding rates—thereby further reducing the impact of net pens on seabed quality.10

REFERENCES

1 Global Salmon Initiative. Feed Conversion Ratio. https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/sustainability-report/protein-production-facts/#feed-conversion-ratio

2 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2019). Aquaculture Activities Regulations. https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/management-gestion/aar-raa-eng.html

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

4 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

6 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.26, 29. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

7 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

8 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 20. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

9 Marine Harvest. 2017. Integrated Annual Report. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

10 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Waste production is an unavoidable consequence of our consumption of animal protein. All animal protein-producing industries (e.g. beef, pork, poultry, fish) produce waste. Waste production by these industries should always be considered relative to the amount of food they produce. Salmon farming produces less waste per kg of food produced than any other animal protein-producing industry. For each kg of food that a farmed salmon eats, .8kg is converted into body weight—so only .2kg is lost as waste byproducts. By comparison, for each kg of food that beef cattle eat, almost .9kg is lost as waste—while pork loses .6kg as waste and poultry loses .4kg.1

Regulations and Monitoring of the Seabed

Even though salmon farming produces the least waste of any animal protein producing industry, BC salmon farmers work collaboratively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to minimize the impact that farmed salmon waste has on the marine environment.

DFO has strict guidelines regarding where salmon farms may be located. The objective of these guidelines is to minimize potential impacts on the marine habitat below and surrounding the farm. Prior to establishing a new site, DFO Aquaculture Activities Regulations2 require that salmon farmers survey the seabed beneath the proposed site to establish baseline information on the overall health of the sea floor. The monitoring technologies and procedures utilized depend on the nature of the sea floor beneath the farm.3 In BC, the sea floor is generally defined as soft bottom or hard bottom.

For soft bottom sites, sediment samples are taken at 30 and 125 metres from both sides of the cage edge and analyzed for their level of free sulphides. A healthy seabed with plenty of oxygen will have low levels of sulphides.

At hard bottom sites (where sediment samples cannot be collected), underwater cameras are used to video the gravel, boulder or bedrock seabed at 100-124m from the net pen edge. The video is then reviewed for the presence of Beggiatoa bacteria and opportunistic polychaete complexes (OPCs). Their presence is an indicator of elevated sulphide levels.

After a salmon farm becomes operational, DFO’s Aquaculture Activities Regulations require salmon farmers to regularly conduct seabed monitoring to ensure the seabed remains healthy. Sediment samples or video must be taken at the peak of the farm production cycle, when the salmon are fully grown. Salmon farmers must submit reports on sampling results to DFO. DFO performs regular audits to verify industry results and methodology. Results of industry sampling and DFO audits are publicly available at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/protect-protege/waste-dechets-eng.html

According to DFO regulations, the soft bottom sediment samples taken at 30m from the farm must not exceed 1300μmol of free sulphides—while samples taken at 125m must not exceed 700μmol of free sulphides. At hard bottom sites, video of the area from 100 to 124 metres from the cage edge is assessed for impact. This area is broken into 6 segments. If more than 4 segments have > 10% cover of Beggiatoa or OPC, the threshold has been exceeded. If soft or hard bottom thresholds are exceeded, the site cannot be restocked with fish until recovery of the seabed has occurred.4

Since 2012, 85-90% of all BC salmon farms have been below threshold levels.5

Fallowing

In addition to adhering to DFO regulations, BC salmon farmers have implemented industry Best Practices to further ensure that the seabed around their farms is protected. According to these Best Practices, when salmon are harvested from a farm, the farm is left vacant (fallowed) for a short period of time before restocking.6 The fallowing process encourages the restoration of the seabed by allowing any waste matter to be naturally dispersed. A responsible and sustainable production schedule that allows for appropriate fallow times is essential to ensure no long-term impacts on seabed quality. Before transferring new fish, salmon farmers sample the seafloor below and around the farm site to ensure that the environmental parameters do not exceed the limits stipulated in DFO regulations.7

Reduced feed waste

As a further precaution, BC salmon farms now primarily use automated feed delivery systems that evenly distribute a set amount of feed throughout the pen at designated times. To avoid feed wastage due to overfeeding, feeding behaviour and unconsumed feed is closely monitored primarily via underwater video cameras. Increasingly, these feeding systems are supported by state-of-the art technologies such as:8

  • Feed spreaders—to regulate and improve feed distribution, thereby optimizing feed consumption and minimizing waste.
  • Production control software—to facilitate integration and analysis of camera and sensor data for optimization of both amount and rate of feeding, thereby minimizing waste.
  • Autonomous feeding systems—feed pellets floating in the pen are detected by pellet detection software that then uses learned behaviour to prevent
  • Real time environmental sensors/alarms—provide feed operators with in-situ environmental parameters that enable monitoring all changes in water quality—and allow them to deliver only as much food as the fish will eat.

Future Monitoring Tools

eDNA metabarcoding

The salmon farming industry will continue to implement all innovations that allow improved monitoring and protection of seabed habitat and organisms. The industry is currently validating environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding as a powerful new tool to complement existing monitoring technologies. The eDNA test uses DNA isolated from water or sediment samples to determine the composition and diversity of the seabed organisms living in the proximity to salmon farms. In addition to being rapid and cost-effective, eDNA-based seabed monitoring is more sensitive, more accurate, and more reliable than existing monitoring methods.9

Feed monitoring

The development and implementation of innovative camera solutions, coupled with machine-learning capabilities, will provide new and transformative insights e.g. it will allow measurement of growth-related parameters of more than 10,000 fish every day. With a precise tool for real-time biomass surveillance, the industry will be able to directly compare ‘feed fed’ with ‘weight gained’. This will be used to optimize feeding rates—thereby further reducing the impact of net pens on seabed quality.10

REFERENCES

1 Global Salmon Initiative. Feed Conversion Ratio. https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/sustainability-report/protein-production-facts/#feed-conversion-ratio

2 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (2019). Aquaculture Activities Regulations. https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/management-gestion/aar-raa-eng.html

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

4 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

6 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p.26, 29. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

7 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Monitoring Benthic Impacts at BC Aquaculture Sites. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40762440.pdf

8 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 20. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

9 Marine Harvest. 2017. Integrated Annual Report. http://hugin.info/209/R/2177429/840178.pdf

10 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of chemicals including copper and zinc.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of chemicals including copper and zinc.”

THE REALITY

In recognition that copper and zinc can become significant and persistent pollutants in the marine environment, the vast majority of BC salmon farms have now eliminated the use of copper and zinc-based anti-foulant coatings on farm nets and equipment.

THE REALITY

In recognition that copper and zinc can become significant and persistent pollutants in the marine environment, the vast majority of BC salmon farms have now eliminated the use of copper and zinc-based anti-foulant coatings on farm nets and equipment.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Diverse macro-algae, bivalves (e.g. mussels and oysters), sea urchins, sponges, and others sessile organisms settle onto salmon farm nets and equipment. This ‘biofouling’ can limit water exchange in the net pen, creating stress for the farmed salmon by reducing water quality and depleting dissolved oxygen.

For centuries, ship’s hulls have been protected from the biofouling through the use of biocides such as copper and zinc.11 Given their proven effectiveness, BC salmon farmers initially treated their nets with copper and zinc-based coatings to inhibit the build-up of marine organisms. However, in recognition that copper and zinc can become significant and persistent pollutants in the marine environment, the vast majority of BC salmon farms have now eliminated the use of copper and zinc-based anti-foulant coatings on farm nets and equipment. Nets are now primarily cleaned on land or in situ, e.g. using a net cleaning vessel equipped with remotely operated net cleaners. Cleaning is achieved by using high-pressure seawater.12

REFERENCES

11 Dresher, W.H. (2000). Copper in Third-Generation Antifoulants for Marine Coatings. Copper Development Alliance. https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/innovations/2000/09/antifoulant_story.html

2 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 18. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

Diverse macro-algae, bivalves (e.g. mussels and oysters), sea urchins, sponges, and others sessile organisms settle onto salmon farm nets and equipment. This ‘biofouling’ can limit water exchange in the net pen, creating stress for the farmed salmon by reducing water quality and depleting dissolved oxygen.

For centuries, ship’s hulls have been protected from the biofouling through the use of biocides such as copper and zinc.11 Given their proven effectiveness, BC salmon farmers initially treated their nets with copper and zinc-based coatings to inhibit the build-up of marine organisms. However, in recognition that copper and zinc can become significant and persistent pollutants in the marine environment, the vast majority of BC salmon farms have now eliminated the use of copper and zinc-based anti-foulant coatings on farm nets and equipment. Nets are now primarily cleaned on land or in situ, e.g. using a net cleaning vessel equipped with remotely operated net cleaners. Cleaning is achieved by using high-pressure seawater.12

REFERENCES

11 Dresher, W.H. (2000). Copper in Third-Generation Antifoulants for Marine Coatings. Copper Development Alliance. https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/innovations/2000/09/antifoulant_story.html

2 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2019. BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation and Technology. p. 18. https://bcsalmonfarmers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BCSFA_Tech_Document_web.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of antibiotics.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of antibiotics.”

THE REALITY

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices have facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms. A BC Ministry of Agriculture study of bacteria occurring on BC farmed salmon found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.

THE REALITY

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices have facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms. A BC Ministry of Agriculture study of bacteria occurring on BC farmed salmon found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

To prevent disease, BC farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests. The fish also receive preventative vaccinations—and consistent diagnostic testing and regular fish health examinations by trained fish health professionals and licensed veterinarians. If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered.13

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices have facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon (775% reduction).14 Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

BC salmon farmers recognize that excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Between 2007 and 2015, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) analyzed tissue samples from BC farmed salmon to investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance. This study found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.15,16

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

To prevent disease, BC farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests. The fish also receive preventative vaccinations—and consistent diagnostic testing and regular fish health examinations by trained fish health professionals and licensed veterinarians. If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered.13

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices have facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon (775% reduction).14 Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

BC salmon farmers recognize that excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Between 2007 and 2015, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) analyzed tissue samples from BC farmed salmon to investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance. This study found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.15,16

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of anti-sea lice chemicals.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Fish farm waste includes large quantities of anti-sea lice chemicals.”

THE REALITY

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may result in an accumulation of residues on the seabed, where they may impact seabed communities. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment solutions.

THE REALITY

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may result in an accumulation of residues on the seabed, where they may impact seabed communities. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment solutions.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),17 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of pesticides and/or drugs used and provide assessments of alternatives to pesticide and drug use that were considered.

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may result in an accumulation of residues on the seabed, where they may impact seabed communities. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment solutions. The use of alternative solutions is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments, thereby reducing the likelihood of impacting seabed communities. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts.18 These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers.19 Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment.20 Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment.21 Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding programs.22 TNon-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains that are highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%.23 This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present BC.24
  • Cleaner fish.25 There are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.26

All of these innovative treatment strategies will allow BC salmon farmers to reduce their use of chemotherapeutants to treat sea lice. And for infestations where chemotherapeutant treatment is deemed to be the best option, salmon farmers will increasingly rely upon state-of-the-art technologies like the CleanTreat® purification system. This system is capable of cleaning all water after chemotherapeutant treatment, removing all medicated particles from treatment water before it is released into the environment—thereby ensuring that seabed organisms are not impacted. This technology also removes all treatment-resistant lice from the treatment water, preventing them from re-entering the environment—and thereby preventing the spread of resistance.27

REFERENCES

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations. https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

18 Global Salmon Initiative. Non-medicinal approaches to sea lice management https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/what-is-the-gsi-working-on/biosecurity/non-medicinal-approaches-to-sea-lice-management/

19 Ibid.

20 Khan, I. 2019. 'Cutting-edge' wellboat makes a splash in BC. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/canadas-most-technologically-advanced-wellboat-makes-a-splash/

21 Shore, R. 2018. Drug-free 'hydrolicer' treatment touted for fighting fish-farm sea lice. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/drug-free-hydrolicer-treatment-touted-for-fighting-fish-farm-sea-lice

22 Gharbi, K., Matthews, L., Bron, J., Roberts, R., Tinch, A., Stear, and M. 2015. The control of sea lice in Atlantic salmon by selective breeding. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2015.0574

23 Jensen, P.M. 2018. Vaccine cuts lice loads by 97% in lab tests. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/vaccine-cuts-lice-loads-by-97-in-lab-tests/

24 Ibid.

25 BioMar. What are cleaner fish? https://www.biomar.com/en/uk/products--species/cleaner-fish/

26 CAHS. 2017.Pacific cleanerfish project proves it worth. https://www.cahs-bc.ca/2017/04/18/pacific-cleanerfish-project-proves-its-worth/

27 CleanTreat® by Benchmark. http://cleantreat.no/

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers use chemotherapeutants as part of their integrated pest management plan to control sea lice levels on farmed salmon. As stipulated in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR),17 salmon farmers may only use chemotherapeutants authorized by Health Canada and the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency. According to the AAR, salmon farmers must report on an annual basis to the Minister of DFO on the amounts of pesticides and/or drugs used and provide assessments of alternatives to pesticide and drug use that were considered.

Salmon farmers recognize that overuse of chemotherapeutant treatments may result in an accumulation of residues on the seabed, where they may impact seabed communities. They have therefore developed a full suite of alternative, non-chemotherapeutic prevention and treatment solutions. The use of alternative solutions is reducing the frequency of chemotherapeutant treatments, thereby reducing the likelihood of impacting seabed communities. Alternative treatments include:

  • Anti-sea lice skirts.18 These skirts are hung around the outside of a net pen to prevent sea lice entry.
  • Aeration diffusers.19 Diffusers are placed around the outside of a net pen to release a stream of air bubbles that deter sea lice from entering the pen.
  • Freshwater treatment.20 Exposure to freshwater causes sea lice to detach from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.
  • Hydrolicer treatment.21 Hydrolicers use pressurized water to detach sea lice from salmon, allowing them to be collected and removed from the production environment.

In the near future, salmon farmers will be adding new options that effectively reduce the likelihood of sea lice infestations, including:

  • Sea lice resistance breeding programs.22 TNon-GMO farmed salmon breeding programs are developing salmon strains that are highly resistant to sea lice infestation. These fish naturally resist infection and, therefore, seldom require treatment.
  • Sea lice vaccines. The salmon farming industry has invested heavily in the development of sea lice vaccines. In 2018, researchers announced they had developed a vaccine against the Chilean sea louse that is effective in reducing infestation volumes by 97%.23 This new technology may accelerate the development of vaccines effective against sea lice species present BC.24
  • Cleaner fish.25 There are several species of fish that naturally eat sea lice. When these fish are introduced to salmon pens, they eat sea lice off the salmon. In BC, laboratory testing of two local species of Pacific perch—kelp perch and pile perch—suggest they may have potential as cleaner fish.26

All of these innovative treatment strategies will allow BC salmon farmers to reduce their use of chemotherapeutants to treat sea lice. And for infestations where chemotherapeutant treatment is deemed to be the best option, salmon farmers will increasingly rely upon state-of-the-art technologies like the CleanTreat® purification system. This system is capable of cleaning all water after chemotherapeutant treatment, removing all medicated particles from treatment water before it is released into the environment—thereby ensuring that seabed organisms are not impacted. This technology also removes all treatment-resistant lice from the treatment water, preventing them from re-entering the environment—and thereby preventing the spread of resistance.27

REFERENCES

17 Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Aquaculture Activities Regulations. https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2015-177/page-1.html#h-820176

18 Global Salmon Initiative. Non-medicinal approaches to sea lice management https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/what-is-the-gsi-working-on/biosecurity/non-medicinal-approaches-to-sea-lice-management/

19 Ibid.

20 Khan, I. 2019. 'Cutting-edge' wellboat makes a splash in BC. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/canadas-most-technologically-advanced-wellboat-makes-a-splash/

21 Shore, R. 2018. Drug-free 'hydrolicer' treatment touted for fighting fish-farm sea lice. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/drug-free-hydrolicer-treatment-touted-for-fighting-fish-farm-sea-lice

22 Gharbi, K., Matthews, L., Bron, J., Roberts, R., Tinch, A., Stear, and M. 2015. The control of sea lice in Atlantic salmon by selective breeding. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2015.0574

23 Jensen, P.M. 2018. Vaccine cuts lice loads by 97% in lab tests. https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/vaccine-cuts-lice-loads-by-97-in-lab-tests/

24 Ibid.

25 BioMar. What are cleaner fish? https://www.biomar.com/en/uk/products--species/cleaner-fish/

26 CAHS. 2017.Pacific cleanerfish project proves it worth. https://www.cahs-bc.ca/2017/04/18/pacific-cleanerfish-project-proves-its-worth/

27 CleanTreat® by Benchmark. http://cleantreat.no/

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming companies don’t care about wild stocks, they only care about profit.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming companies don’t care about wild stocks, they only care about profit.”

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers express their commitment to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of wild salmon populations by supporting a wide variety of salmon enhancement initiatives in rural coastal communities.

SHARE

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers express their commitment to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of wild salmon populations by supporting a wide variety of salmon enhancement initiatives in rural coastal communities.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The protection of wild salmon is a priority for all British Columbians, and salmon farmers are no different.

BC salmon farmers express their commitment to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of wild salmon populations by supporting a wide variety of salmon enhancement initiatives in rural coastal communities. Salmon farmers fund dozens of projects annually, volunteer their time, share expertise, collaborate within existing First Nations partnerships, and donate equipment for enhancement initiatives. In addition, many salmon farm employees volunteer to help with activities like fin clipping, stream restoration and seines for brood stock.1

The BC salmon farming industry provides “funding for fish count swims, wild salmon habitat restoration and stock enhancement, hatchery improvements and most recently funding toward a future hatchery re-build.” — Saya M. Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Manager of Lands and Resources2

Other BC salmon farm activities that reduce risk to wild salmon populations include:

  • Ongoing stringent testing to ensure that only disease-free juvenile farmed salmon enter the ocean environment.
  • Vaccination of all juvenile farmed salmon against common pathogens for which effective vaccines are available.
  • Enhanced sea lice monitoring during juvenile salmon out-migration period.
  • Ongoing support wild salmon research through the Marine Environmental Research Program.
  • Continued investment in infrastructure and practices to optimize farmed salmon containment.
REFERENCES

1 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2018. Salmon Aquaculture in BC: 2018 Sustainability Progress Report.

2 Ibid.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The protection of wild salmon is a priority for all British Columbians, and salmon farmers are no different.

BC salmon farmers express their commitment to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of wild salmon populations by supporting a wide variety of salmon enhancement initiatives in rural coastal communities. Salmon farmers fund dozens of projects annually, volunteer their time, share expertise, collaborate within existing First Nations partnerships, and donate equipment for enhancement initiatives. In addition, many salmon farm employees volunteer to help with activities like fin clipping, stream restoration and seines for brood stock.1

The BC salmon farming industry provides “funding for fish count swims, wild salmon habitat restoration and stock enhancement, hatchery improvements and most recently funding toward a future hatchery re-build.” — Saya M. Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Manager of Lands and Resources2

Other BC salmon farm activities that reduce risk to wild salmon populations include:

  • Ongoing stringent testing to ensure that only disease-free juvenile farmed salmon enter the ocean environment.
  • Vaccination of all juvenile farmed salmon against common pathogens for which effective vaccines are available.
  • Enhanced sea lice monitoring during juvenile salmon out-migration period.
  • Ongoing support wild salmon research through the Marine Environmental Research Program.
  • Continued investment in infrastructure and practices to optimize farmed salmon containment.
REFERENCES

1 BC Salmon Farmers Association. 2018. Salmon Aquaculture in BC: 2018 Sustainability Progress Report.

2 Ibid.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If I eat farmed fish, I am supporting the decline of wild fish stocks.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If I eat farmed fish, I am supporting the decline of wild fish stocks.”

THE REALITY

A series of comprehensive inquiries and scientific studies have concluded that salmon farms are not having a discernable impact on populations of wild salmon. One factor consistently identified as having impacted wild stocks is overfishing. By choosing to eat farmed salmon over wild, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be reduced – which, in turn, would support the recovery of wild stocks.

THE REALITY

A series of comprehensive inquiries and scientific studies have concluded that salmon farms are not having a discernable impact on populations of wild salmon. One factor consistently identified as having impacted wild stocks is overfishing. By choosing to eat farmed salmon over wild, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be reduced – which, in turn, would support the recovery of wild stocks.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded “Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term declines.3

The conclusion of the Cohen Commission is supported by several extensive data sets and scientific publications that show variations in the returns of stocks of Pacific salmon species are unrelated to the presence or absence of salmon farms. These include:

  • The 32nd Annual Report of the Pacific Salmon Commission showed a significant downward trend in commercial sockeye harvest data from the Alaska fishery between 1985 and 2016.4
  • In BC’s coastal waters, Beamish et al. (2004) showed that production of both Pink and Sockeye salmon from the Fraser River followed trends that changed in relation to trends in climate.5
  • Despite predictions by ENGOs that sea lice from salmon farms would cause a 99% collapse in Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago by 2014, returns in 2014 were ~3.9 times greater that 2006 returns. In fact, DFO Escapement data indicates that the three largest returns of Pink salmon to the Broughton Archipelago have occurred since the beginning of salmon farming in the region.6
  • A 2011 study comparing the health of wild Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago (an area with 20 salmon farms) with Pinks from the BC central coast (a reference area to the north without salmon farms) concluded that “...there was no detectable difference in mean survival for the Broughton Archipelago relative to the central coast.”7
  • A 2015 scientific publication from researchers based in the State of Washington and Simon Fraser University reported no relation between farm fish production in the Discovery Islands and Fraser River Sockeye salmon returns.8

The conclusion of the Cohen Report was also supported by the findings of the 2018 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture, which stated that factors consistently identified as negatively impacting salmon stocks include: climate change, overfishing, logging, urban development, and industrial pollution9.

Protecting Wild Salmon Stocks

BC salmon farming plays a critical role in protecting wild stocks. There are simply not enough wild fish in the oceans to meet growing human demand. Globally, more than half the fish the human race consumes today is farmed10 - and projected to increase to two-thirds by 2030.11

Approximately 70% of the salmon harvested in BC each year is farmed. Without farmed salmon, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be greatly increased to meet the global demand. Alternatively, by choosing to eat farmed salmon over wild, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be reduced – which, in turn, would support the recovery of wild stocks.11

REFERENCES

7 Morton, A., R. Routledge, A. McConnell, and M. Krkosek. (2011). Sea lice dispersion and salmon survival in relation to salmon farm activity in the Broughton Archipelago. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 144–156. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/68/1/144/629517

8 Ruggerone, G.T. and Connors, B.M. (2015). Productivity and life history of sockeye salmon in relation to competition with pink and sockeye salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 818–833. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0134

9 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

10 FAO. 2018. Positive outlook for global seafood as demand surges for multiple species in markets across the world. http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/market-reports/resource-detail/en/c/1109513/

11 FAO. 2013. Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture. http://www.fao.org/3/i3640e/i3640e.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded “Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term declines.3

The conclusion of the Cohen Commission is supported by several extensive data sets and scientific publications that show variations in the returns of stocks of Pacific salmon species are unrelated to the presence or absence of salmon farms. These include:

  • The 32nd Annual Report of the Pacific Salmon Commission showed a significant downward trend in commercial sockeye harvest data from the Alaska fishery between 1985 and 2016.4
  • In BC’s coastal waters, Beamish et al. (2004) showed that production of both Pink and Sockeye salmon from the Fraser River followed trends that changed in relation to trends in climate.5
  • Despite predictions by ENGOs that sea lice from salmon farms would cause a 99% collapse in Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago by 2014, returns in 2014 were ~3.9 times greater that 2006 returns. In fact, DFO Escapement data indicates that the three largest returns of Pink salmon to the Broughton Archipelago have occurred since the beginning of salmon farming in the region.6
  • A 2011 study comparing the health of wild Pink salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago (an area with 20 salmon farms) with Pinks from the BC central coast (a reference area to the north without salmon farms) concluded that “...there was no detectable difference in mean survival for the Broughton Archipelago relative to the central coast.”7
  • A 2015 scientific publication from researchers based in the State of Washington and Simon Fraser University reported no relation between farm fish production in the Discovery Islands and Fraser River Sockeye salmon returns.8

The conclusion of the Cohen Report was also supported by the findings of the 2018 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture, which stated that factors consistently identified as negatively impacting salmon stocks include: climate change, overfishing, logging, urban development, and industrial pollution9.

Protecting Wild Salmon Stocks

BC salmon farming plays a critical role in protecting wild stocks. There are simply not enough wild fish in the oceans to meet growing human demand. Globally, more than half the fish the human race consumes today is farmed10 - and projected to increase to two-thirds by 2030.11

Approximately 70% of the salmon harvested in BC each year is farmed. Without farmed salmon, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be greatly increased to meet the global demand. Alternatively, by choosing to eat farmed salmon over wild, the fishing pressure on wild stocks could be reduced – which, in turn, would support the recovery of wild stocks.11

REFERENCES

7 Morton, A., R. Routledge, A. McConnell, and M. Krkosek. (2011). Sea lice dispersion and salmon survival in relation to salmon farm activity in the Broughton Archipelago. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: 144–156. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/68/1/144/629517

8 Ruggerone, G.T. and Connors, B.M. (2015). Productivity and life history of sockeye salmon in relation to competition with pink and sockeye salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 818–833. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0134

9 Report of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture. (2018). p.16. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/fisheries-and-aquaculture/minister-or-agriculture-s-advisory-council-on-finfish-aquaculture/maacfa-2017-docs/minister_of_agricultures_advisory_council_on_finfish_aquaculture_final_report_and_appendices.pdf

10 FAO. 2018. Positive outlook for global seafood as demand surges for multiple species in markets across the world. http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/market-reports/resource-detail/en/c/1109513/

11 FAO. 2013. Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture. http://www.fao.org/3/i3640e/i3640e.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If Atlantic salmon escape in the Pacific Ocean, they will breed with Pacific salmon.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If Atlantic salmon escape in the Pacific Ocean, they will breed with Pacific salmon.”

THE REALITY

Due to evolutionary-related genetic differences, matings between Atlantic and Pacific salmon cannot produce viable offspring.

SHARE

THE REALITY

Due to evolutionary-related genetic differences, matings between Atlantic and Pacific salmon cannot produce viable offspring.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

In the 80 years prior to the introduction of Atlantic salmon farming in BC, over 8.6 million Atlantic salmon were introduced into BC waters in an attempt to establish populations of Atlantic salmon for recreational fishing purposes (see table below).2 Despite this massive introduction, no evidence of interbreeding between Atlantic and Pacific salmon has been detected.3

Moreover, all attempts by scientists to breed Atlantic salmon with coho, chum, sockeye, chinook, and pink salmon under laboratory conditions have failed to produce viable offspring. The inability of Atlantic and Pacific salmon to interbreed has been attributed to evolutionary-related genetic differences between them.4

Year # of Atlantic Salmon intentionally introduced into BC waters
1905 200,000
1906 1200
1907 115,00
1908 90,000
1909 83,000
1911 153,000
1912 170,000
1913 142,500
1914 86,000
1915 243,900
1916 178,300
1917 245,050
1918 418,028
1919 288,000
1921 184,818
1922 378,704
1923 922,003
1924 593,205
1925 1,083,342
1926 887,041
1927 987,895
1928 1,118,070
1933 14,718
1934 19,344
1935 4,803
Total 8,607,921
REFERENCES

1 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

2 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

3 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2001. The Net-pen Salmon Farming Industry in the Pacific Northwest. https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/scipubs/techmemos/tm49/tm49.pdf

4 Ibid.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

In the 80 years prior to the introduction of Atlantic salmon farming in BC, over 8.6 million Atlantic salmon were introduced into BC waters in an attempt to establish populations of Atlantic salmon for recreational fishing purposes (see table below).2 Despite this massive introduction, no evidence of interbreeding between Atlantic and Pacific salmon has been detected.3

Moreover, all attempts by scientists to breed Atlantic salmon with coho, chum, sockeye, chinook, and pink salmon under laboratory conditions have failed to produce viable offspring. The inability of Atlantic and Pacific salmon to interbreed has been attributed to evolutionary-related genetic differences between them.4

Year # of Atlantic Salmon intentionally introduced into BC waters
1905 200,000
1906 1200
1907 115,00
1908 90,000
1909 83,000
1911 153,000
1912 170,000
1913 142,500
1914 86,000
1915 243,900
1916 178,300
1917 245,050
1918 418,028
1919 288,000
1921 184,818
1922 378,704
1923 922,003
1924 593,205
1925 1,083,342
1926 887,041
1927 987,895
1928 1,118,070
1933 14,718
1934 19,344
1935 4,803
Total 8,607,921
REFERENCES

1 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

2 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

3 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2001. The Net-pen Salmon Farming Industry in the Pacific Northwest. https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/scipubs/techmemos/tm49/tm49.pdf

4 Ibid.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If Atlantic salmon escape in the Pacific Ocean, they will compete and take all the food from Pacific salmon.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“If Atlantic salmon escape in the Pacific Ocean, they will compete and take all the food from Pacific salmon.”

THE REALITY

Given that substantial and repeated efforts over an 80 year period have not produced a successful self-reproducing population anywhere in the world, it is extremely unlikely that escaped farmed salmon could impact the food supply for wild Pacific salmon.

THE REALITY

Given that substantial and repeated efforts over an 80 year period have not produced a successful self-reproducing population anywhere in the world, it is extremely unlikely that escaped farmed salmon could impact the food supply for wild Pacific salmon.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

In the 80 years prior to the introduction of Atlantic salmon farming in BC, over 8.6 million Atlantic salmon were released into BC waters. These introductions were conducted in an attempt to establish populations of Atlantic salmon for recreational fishing purposes (see table above). However, surveys by Fisheries and Oceans Canada have revealed that none of these releases were successful in establishing Atlantic salmon populations.5

Given that substantial and repeated efforts over an 80 year period have not produced a successful self-reproducing population anywhere in the world, it is extremely unlikely that escaped farmed salmon could impact the food supply for wild Pacific salmon.6

REFERENCES

5 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

6 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2001. The Net-pen Salmon Farming Industry in the Pacific Northwest. https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/scipubs/techmemos/tm49/tm49.pdf

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

In the 80 years prior to the introduction of Atlantic salmon farming in BC, over 8.6 million Atlantic salmon were released into BC waters. These introductions were conducted in an attempt to establish populations of Atlantic salmon for recreational fishing purposes (see table above). However, surveys by Fisheries and Oceans Canada have revealed that none of these releases were successful in establishing Atlantic salmon populations.5

Given that substantial and repeated efforts over an 80 year period have not produced a successful self-reproducing population anywhere in the world, it is extremely unlikely that escaped farmed salmon could impact the food supply for wild Pacific salmon.6

REFERENCES

5 Cermaq Canada. 2017. History of Atlantic Salmon Introductions into the North American Pacific Ocean. https://www.cermaq.com/wps/wcm/connect/7a850996-d21c-48c5-bb84-9e2049bdc680/History+of+Atlantic+Salmon+Introductions+in+the+Pacific.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=lUFQRUO&CONVERT_TO=url

6 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2001. The Net-pen Salmon Farming Industry in the Pacific Northwest. https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/scipubs/techmemos/tm49/tm49.pdf

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farms threaten wild fish stocks because they transmit disease.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farms threaten wild fish stocks because they transmit disease.”

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers recognize the importance of all wild fish populations and are deeply committed to their conservation. They therefore implement rigorous Health Management plans to ensure optimal fish health and mitigate disease outbreaks.

SHARE

THE REALITY

BC salmon farmers recognize the importance of all wild fish populations and are deeply committed to their conservation. They therefore implement rigorous Health Management plans to ensure optimal fish health and mitigate disease outbreaks.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers recognize the importance of all wild fish populations and are deeply committed to their conservation. While declining populations of some species (e.g. Chinook salmon) can be largely attributed to the detrimental impact of factors such as climate change, logging, urban development, industrial pollution and over-fishing1, BC salmon farmers recognize that disease events on farms could have the potential to impact the health of wild fish. They therefore implement rigorous Health Management plans to ensure optimal fish health and mitigate disease outbreaks.

Regulation of Aquatic Animal Health

Regulation of the management of farmed salmon health is overseen by multiple agencies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).2 Regulations stipulate stringent record keeping and reporting requirements, including:

  • Health records for aquaculture sites
  • Mandatory reporting of antibiotic or sea lice chemotherapeutant usage
  • Mandatory reporting of disease and mortality events

On-Farm Fish Health Management

Disease prevention

To prevent disease, farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests.

Disease prevention

Research has shown that the state of animal health & welfare within a production facility can be indirectly assessed through the ongoing monitoring of performance, health, and management/husbandry data. All salmon farms therefore maintain accurate and up-to-date records of growth and health related parameters. These measurements are then used to calculate reliable indicators of optimal growth, including:

  • feed conversion ratios
  • specific growth rate
  • specific feeding rate—the daily feeding rate expressed as a percent body weight, per day
  • Rmax—the maximum ration of feed that provides optimal growth

Other parameters measured and recorded include:

  • mortality number and classification
  • stocking densities
  • water quality parameters
  • feed (composition, quantity, age)
  • therapeutants administered
  • stock identifiers (e.g. age, origins)
  • stock movements

Health management plans

BC salmon farms maintain sets of surveillance, monitoring, reporting and disinfection policies to ensure proper bio-security.

Fish removals and introductions

Federal regulations exist to prevent the movement and entry of diseased salmon onto a farm. Prior to moving juvenile farmed salmon from hatcheries to farm sites, stringent pathogen testing is conducted to ensure that all juveniles are healthy and disease free.

Vaccines

Vaccines have been developed against many of the common bacterial and viral pathogens that impact farmed salmon. All juvenile farmed salmon receive vaccinations before transfer to the marine environment. Vaccinations have resulted in a significant decrease in antibiotic use (see below).

Cleaning / disinfection of enclosures, boats, and equipment

In land-based hatchery facilities, tanks are cleaned prior to salmon fry being entered into a specific tank—and after the fry have been removed. Additionally, all equipment is disinfected on a regular basis, before and after use. In a net pen facility, boats and equipment are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis; and where between-site usage is necessary, boats and equipment are cleaned and disinfected between sites. Every effort is made to reduce the use of equipment at multiple sites to help maintain each site’s biosecurity. Additionally, during the fallow between crops, nets are removed for cleaning and disinfection and site infrastructure is cleaned.

Entry practices and restrictions

All facilities have policies applicable to both employees and facility visitors pertaining to procedures to be followed upon entry, as well as protocols regarding visiting multiple facilities over a short period of time.

Water source management

Design of land-based facilities includes the installation of filtration and disinfection systems that remove any pathogens within the incoming water before it enters the facility.

Fallowing

As part of industry best practices, when salmon are harvested from a farm, the farm is left vacant (fallowed) for a short period of time before restocking. Farms practice regular fallowing of sites to further reduce the risk of disease or parasite transmission.

Site-specific year-class segregation of fish

Fish born in different years are kept on separate sites to reduce the likelihood of pathogen transfer between age groups.

Disease prevention

Detection

A sample of healthy fish in both land-based and net-pen facilities are euthanized on a regular basis to test for the presence of pathogens. Veterinarians and fish health staff also sample and examine facility mortalities for signs of disease. Additionally, moribund fish (those displaying abnormal signs e.g. swimming/floating near the surface, lethargic etc.) are removed from the stock, humanely euthanized, and examined for signs of disease.

Treatment

The development of vaccines has facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon.3

If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered. BC salmon farmers are striving to eventually eliminate the use of antibiotics.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

BC salmon farmers recognize the importance of all wild fish populations and are deeply committed to their conservation. While declining populations of some species (e.g. Chinook salmon) can be largely attributed to the detrimental impact of factors such as climate change, logging, urban development, industrial pollution and over-fishing1, BC salmon farmers recognize that disease events on farms could have the potential to impact the health of wild fish. They therefore implement rigorous Health Management plans to ensure optimal fish health and mitigate disease outbreaks.

Regulation of Aquatic Animal Health

Regulation of the management of farmed salmon health is overseen by multiple agencies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).2 Regulations stipulate stringent record keeping and reporting requirements, including:

  • Health records for aquaculture sites
  • Mandatory reporting of antibiotic or sea lice chemotherapeutant usage
  • Mandatory reporting of disease and mortality events

On-Farm Fish Health Management

Disease prevention

To prevent disease, farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests.

Disease prevention

Research has shown that the state of animal health & welfare within a production facility can be indirectly assessed through the ongoing monitoring of performance, health, and management/husbandry data. All salmon farms therefore maintain accurate and up-to-date records of growth and health related parameters. These measurements are then used to calculate reliable indicators of optimal growth, including:

  • feed conversion ratios
  • specific growth rate
  • specific feeding rate—the daily feeding rate expressed as a percent body weight, per day
  • Rmax—the maximum ration of feed that provides optimal growth

Other parameters measured and recorded include:

  • mortality number and classification
  • stocking densities
  • water quality parameters
  • feed (composition, quantity, age)
  • therapeutants administered
  • stock identifiers (e.g. age, origins)
  • stock movements

Health management plans

BC salmon farms maintain sets of surveillance, monitoring, reporting and disinfection policies to ensure proper bio-security.

Fish removals and introductions

Federal regulations exist to prevent the movement and entry of diseased salmon onto a farm. Prior to moving juvenile farmed salmon from hatcheries to farm sites, stringent pathogen testing is conducted to ensure that all juveniles are healthy and disease free.

Vaccines

Vaccines have been developed against many of the common bacterial and viral pathogens that impact farmed salmon. All juvenile farmed salmon receive vaccinations before transfer to the marine environment. Vaccinations have resulted in a significant decrease in antibiotic use (see below).

Cleaning / disinfection of enclosures, boats, and equipment

In land-based hatchery facilities, tanks are cleaned prior to salmon fry being entered into a specific tank—and after the fry have been removed. Additionally, all equipment is disinfected on a regular basis, before and after use. In a net pen facility, boats and equipment are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis; and where between-site usage is necessary, boats and equipment are cleaned and disinfected between sites. Every effort is made to reduce the use of equipment at multiple sites to help maintain each site’s biosecurity. Additionally, during the fallow between crops, nets are removed for cleaning and disinfection and site infrastructure is cleaned.

Entry practices and restrictions

All facilities have policies applicable to both employees and facility visitors pertaining to procedures to be followed upon entry, as well as protocols regarding visiting multiple facilities over a short period of time.

Water source management

Design of land-based facilities includes the installation of filtration and disinfection systems that remove any pathogens within the incoming water before it enters the facility.

Fallowing

As part of industry best practices, when salmon are harvested from a farm, the farm is left vacant (fallowed) for a short period of time before restocking. Farms practice regular fallowing of sites to further reduce the risk of disease or parasite transmission.

Site-specific year-class segregation of fish

Fish born in different years are kept on separate sites to reduce the likelihood of pathogen transfer between age groups.

Disease prevention

Detection

A sample of healthy fish in both land-based and net-pen facilities are euthanized on a regular basis to test for the presence of pathogens. Veterinarians and fish health staff also sample and examine facility mortalities for signs of disease. Additionally, moribund fish (those displaying abnormal signs e.g. swimming/floating near the surface, lethargic etc.) are removed from the stock, humanely euthanized, and examined for signs of disease.

Treatment

The development of vaccines has facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon.3

If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered. BC salmon farmers are striving to eventually eliminate the use of antibiotics.

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farmers use a large amount of antibiotics to treat sick fish.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farmers use a large amount of antibiotics to treat sick fish.”

THE REALITY

Between 1997 and 2017, antibiotic use on BC salmon farms decreased by 775%. Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

THE REALITY

Between 1997 and 2017, antibiotic use on BC salmon farms decreased by 775%. Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

To prevent disease, BC farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests. The fish also receive preventative vaccinations—and consistent diagnostic testing and regular fish health examinations by trained fish health professionals and licensed veterinarians. If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered.4

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices has facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon (775% reduction).5 Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

BC salmon farmers recognize that excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Between 2007 and 2015, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) analyzed tissue samples from BC farmed salmon to investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance. This study found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.6,7

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

To prevent disease, BC farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests. The fish also receive preventative vaccinations—and consistent diagnostic testing and regular fish health examinations by trained fish health professionals and licensed veterinarians. If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered.4

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices has facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon (775% reduction).5 Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

BC salmon farmers recognize that excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Between 2007 and 2015, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) analyzed tissue samples from BC farmed salmon to investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance. This study found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.6,7

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farms are factory farms where the fish are crammed into pens.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farms are factory farms where the fish are crammed into pens.”

THE REALITY

A typical salmon farm is the approximate size of two regulation soccer fields and is 30 metres deep. A farm of this size is 98% water and about 2% fish – leaving BC farm-raised salmon lots of space to swim and grow.

THE REALITY

A typical salmon farm is the approximate size of two regulation soccer fields and is 30 metres deep. A farm of this size is 98% water and about 2% fish – leaving BC farm-raised salmon lots of space to swim and grow.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The average stocking density (the amount of fish in a pen) on BC salmon farms is 10-20 kg of fish per cubic metre of water.8,9 The Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish10 and other studies11 recognize this range of stocking densities as capable of supporting good fish welfare.

A salmon farm is approximately the same size as two regulation size soccer fields in length and width, and is 30 meters deep. At a density of 10-20 kg of fish per cubic metre of water, a farm of this size is at least 98% water and no more than 2% fish.12

REFERENCES

8 Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat. 2017. British Columbia farmed Atlantic Salmon health management practices. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40653109.pdf

9 Creative Salmon. 2020. Organic farming. https://www.creativesalmon.com/organic-farming.php

10 Farm Animal Welfare Council. Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/325555/FAWC_report_on_the_welfare_of_farmed_fish.pdf

11 Turnbull, J., Bell, A., Adams, C., Bron, J., and Huntingford, F. 2005. Stocking density and welfare of cage farmed Atlantic salmon: application of a multivariate analysis.

12 Global Salmon Initiative. 2020. Tackling global initiatives through innovation. https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/blog/tackling-global-challenges-through-innovation/

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The average stocking density (the amount of fish in a pen) on BC salmon farms is 10-20 kg of fish per cubic metre of water.8,9 The Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish10 and other studies11 recognize this range of stocking densities as capable of supporting good fish welfare.

A salmon farm is approximately the same size as two regulation size soccer fields in length and width, and is 30 meters deep. At a density of 10-20 kg of fish per cubic metre of water, a farm of this size is at least 98% water and no more than 2% fish.12

REFERENCES

8 Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat. 2017. British Columbia farmed Atlantic Salmon health management practices. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40653109.pdf

9 Creative Salmon. 2020. Organic farming. https://www.creativesalmon.com/organic-farming.php

10 Farm Animal Welfare Council. Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/325555/FAWC_report_on_the_welfare_of_farmed_fish.pdf

11 Turnbull, J., Bell, A., Adams, C., Bron, J., and Huntingford, F. 2005. Stocking density and welfare of cage farmed Atlantic salmon: application of a multivariate analysis.

12 Global Salmon Initiative. 2020. Tackling global initiatives through innovation. https://globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/blog/tackling-global-challenges-through-innovation/

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The Cohen Commission recommended that all salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“The Cohen Commission recommended that all salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.”

THE REALITY

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River did not recommend that salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.

SHARE

THE REALITY

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River did not recommend that salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River did not recommend that salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.

In fact, the Commission concluded:

“Salmon farms per se are not the problem…Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term decline”1

REFERENCES

1 Cohen, B.I. 2012. Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River: The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye. Final Report. October 2012. The Honourable Bruce I. Cohen, Commissioner. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.652609/publication.html

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

The 2012 Cohen Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River did not recommend that salmon farms should be moved to land-based closed containment.

In fact, the Commission concluded:

“Salmon farms per se are not the problem…Data presented during this Inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye”. Rather, the inquiry concluded that a string of cumulative factors, such as contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions likely contributed to long-term decline”1

REFERENCES

1 Cohen, B.I. 2012. Commission of the Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River: The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye. Final Report. October 2012. The Honourable Bruce I. Cohen, Commissioner. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.652609/publication.html

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming uses fish to feed fish, depleting wild stocks.”

WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HEARING

“Salmon farming uses fish to feed fish, depleting wild stocks.”

THE REALITY

To reduce the industry’s dependency on wild fisheries, aquafeed companies are increasingly replacing wild-caught protein and oil sources with alternative plant and animal sources.

SHARE

THE REALITY

To reduce the industry’s dependency on wild fisheries, aquafeed companies are increasingly replacing wild-caught protein and oil sources with alternative plant and animal sources.

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

During the early years of salmon farming in BC (1970’s – 80’s), farmers relied upon wild capture fish (such as anchovies and sardines) to meet the protein and oil requirements of their salmon feeds. However, during the 1990’s, the BC salmon farming industry recognized that their dependency on populations of these wild fish could place an undue stress on the sustainability of wild stocks. Aquafeed companies supplying salmon feed therefore began to replace wild-caught protein and oil sources with alternative plant and animal sources.

New sustainable raw ingredients being incorporated into feed include: certified soy and palm oil products, soy protein concentrate, protein concentrate from corn, guar meal, and by-products from cereal processing & oil seeds.1 These alternative and novel raw materials have enabled fish feed companies to develop specialized salmon feed formulations that are completely fishmeal-free while delivering equal performance in terms of fish growth, health, and performance.

For feed formulations that do require marine oil and/or protein, aquafeed companies are increasing their usage of seafood trimmings and locally sourced by-products. The use of trimmings and by-products from wild fisheries upcycles ‘waste’ materials into healthy food. Up to 30% of the marine oil and proteins utilized in some feed formulations is now derived from seafood trimmings and by-products.2

Since most salmon feeds used in BC continue to contain some ingredients from wild caught fish, BC salmon farmers try to source all marine raw materials from suppliers who adhere to responsible fishery management practices, e.g. sourcing fishmeal and oil from fisheries that are certified as sustainable according to the Marine Stewardship Council standard3 and/or the Marine Ingredients Organization’s Responsible Supply scheme4 and/or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council feed standard.5 For organic salmon farming, the Canadian General Standards Board stipulates that fish meal and fish oil must be sourced from legal, sustainable fisheries managed in accordance with requirements of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.6

The commitment of BC salmon farmers to reduce their reliance on wild fish stocks has facilitated the following shifts in salmon feed composition:

  • Since 1990, the fish meal needed to produce 1kg of salmon protein has dropped from 3.8kg to only 0.7kg.7
  • Since 1990, the fish oil needed to produce 1kg of salmon protein has dropped from 2.8kg to 0.5kg.8
  • The amount of forage fish needed to generate the fish oil required for 1 kg of farm-raised salmon (the forage fish dependence ratio (FFDR)) dropped from 7.2 to 1.5—while the FFDR for fish meal dropped from 4.4 to 0.7 for fish meal.9
  • Less than 0.75kg of wild fish are now needed to produce 1kg of farmed salmon. Salmon farming has thus become a net producer of high quality marine protein.10
REFERENCES

1 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432118057937/aquaculture-sustainability-report-2017.pdf

2 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2018. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432142322239/cargill-aqua-nutrition-sustainability-report.pdf

3 https://www.msc.org/en-us/home

4 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.iffors.com/iffo-rs-standard

5 Feed standard in development. https://www.asc-aqua.org/what-we-do/our-standards/new-standards-and-reviews/new-farm-standards/new-feed/

6 Standards Council of Canada. 2018. Organic production systems: Aquaculture – General principles, management standards and permitted substances lists. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2018/ongc-cgsb/P29-32-312-2018-eng.pdf

7 Ytrestoyl, T., Aasgaard, T.E., Aas, T. S. 2015. Utilization of feed resources in production of Atlantic salmon. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0044848615300624

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Mowi. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p. 63. https://issuu.com/hg-9/docs/mowi_annual_report_2018_4e0dacb83168e4?e=19530043/68703955

TAKE A DEEPER DIVE

During the early years of salmon farming in BC (1970’s – 80’s), farmers relied upon wild capture fish (such as anchovies and sardines) to meet the protein and oil requirements of their salmon feeds. However, during the 1990’s, the BC salmon farming industry recognized that their dependency on populations of these wild fish could place an undue stress on the sustainability of wild stocks. Aquafeed companies supplying salmon feed therefore began to replace wild-caught protein and oil sources with alternative plant and animal sources.

New sustainable raw ingredients being incorporated into feed include: certified soy and palm oil products, soy protein concentrate, protein concentrate from corn, guar meal, and by-products from cereal processing & oil seeds.1 These alternative and novel raw materials have enabled fish feed companies to develop specialized salmon feed formulations that are completely fishmeal-free while delivering equal performance in terms of fish growth, health, and performance.

For feed formulations that do require marine oil and/or protein, aquafeed companies are increasing their usage of seafood trimmings and locally sourced by-products. The use of trimmings and by-products from wild fisheries upcycles ‘waste’ materials into healthy food. Up to 30% of the marine oil and proteins utilized in some feed formulations is now derived from seafood trimmings and by-products.2

Since most salmon feeds used in BC continue to contain some ingredients from wild caught fish, BC salmon farmers try to source all marine raw materials from suppliers who adhere to responsible fishery management practices, e.g. sourcing fishmeal and oil from fisheries that are certified as sustainable according to the Marine Stewardship Council standard3 and/or the Marine Ingredients Organization’s Responsible Supply scheme4 and/or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council feed standard.5 For organic salmon farming, the Canadian General Standards Board stipulates that fish meal and fish oil must be sourced from legal, sustainable fisheries managed in accordance with requirements of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.6

The commitment of BC salmon farmers to reduce their reliance on wild fish stocks has facilitated the following shifts in salmon feed composition:

  • Since 1990, the fish meal needed to produce 1kg of salmon protein has dropped from 3.8kg to only 0.7kg.7
  • Since 1990, the fish oil needed to produce 1kg of salmon protein has dropped from 2.8kg to 0.5kg.8
  • The amount of forage fish needed to generate the fish oil required for 1 kg of farm-raised salmon (the forage fish dependence ratio (FFDR)) dropped from 7.2 to 1.5—while the FFDR for fish meal dropped from 4.4 to 0.7 for fish meal.9
  • Less than 0.75kg of wild fish are now needed to produce 1kg of farmed salmon. Salmon farming has thus become a net producer of high quality marine protein.10
REFERENCES

1 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432118057937/aquaculture-sustainability-report-2017.pdf

2 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2018. Sustainability Report. https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432142322239/cargill-aqua-nutrition-sustainability-report.pdf

3 https://www.msc.org/en-us/home

4 Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 2017. Sustainability Report. https://www.iffors.com/iffo-rs-standard

5 Feed standard in development. https://www.asc-aqua.org/what-we-do/our-standards/new-standards-and-reviews/new-farm-standards/new-feed/

6 Standards Council of Canada. 2018. Organic production systems: Aquaculture – General principles, management standards and permitted substances lists. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2018/ongc-cgsb/P29-32-312-2018-eng.pdf

7 Ytrestoyl, T., Aasgaard, T.E., Aas, T. S. 2015. Utilization of feed resources in production of Atlantic salmon. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0044848615300624

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Mowi. 2019. Integrated Annual Report. p. 63. https://issuu.com/hg-9/docs/mowi_annual_report_2018_4e0dacb83168e4?e=19530043/68703955