Independent Reviews of Open Netcage Salmon Farms


Atlantic Salmon: A White Paper (March 2002).” This is a simply written paper which presents the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s findings on the salmon fishfarm issue and gives a blueprint for a BC policy, starting with a moratorium on expansion, which would save our joint resource.


Union of BC Indian Chiefs: “We Must Close the Salmon Farms NOW!”

Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council , (John Fraser): “Making Sense of the Salmon Aquaculture Debate”. This is a recent, comprehensive review of the science mentioning The Scottish Executive Summary, noted below, Alexandra Morton’s published work, and alarming recent Norwegian studies. There is much else as well. Note especially sections 3.2.5 pgs 37+38 and 3.5.5 pgs 66+67; they explain why we have to avoid wild salmon migration routes.

Skeena Native Development Society after an independent review of the science released a policy against fishfarms in their June 2004 website newsletter (page 11).

Auditors General of Canada, British Columbia, and New Brunswick October 2004 Report: “salmon aquaculture poses risks to wild salmon stocks and the marine environment”

Conveners Report Statement of Agreement  A meeting of twenty-five Scientists from around the world November 2004-Scientists’ Roundtable on Sea Lice and Salmon in the Broughton Archipelago Area of British Columbia.

Statement of Agreement

Based on the weight of evidence approach, participants generally agreed on the following statements as a reflection of their understanding of the impact and significance of sea lice for wild salmon in BC:

Salmon farms contribute sea lice to wild fish.
In Central British Columbia there are more sea lice (Lepeophtheirus spp) on juvenile wild fish near farms.
Sea lice can kill juvenile fish, even at low infestation levels. The lethal load varies with environmental conditions, fish size and cumulative stress. Limited evidence suggests that levels that appear to be lethal are found near fish farms.
The risk factors (e.g., geographic, channel morphology, salinity and temperature, presence of large and healthy runs, size of wild salmon population) contribute variability to sea lice incidence and lethality.
There is suggestive evidence of population impacts.
Raw data (temperature, salinity, stocking density, sea lice incidence, treatment regimens) from fish farms are crucial to research and management and we need to be able to verify those data.

The weight of evidence came primarily from the current knowledge of salmon and sea lice in Europe, Atlantic Canada and the Broughton Archipelago shared in the day’s discussions.

“The ICES workshop in Europe concluded that in Europe where there are salmon farms there are more sea lice.”

“Norway had (and still has) a problem with sea lice. Scotland and Ireland and then eastern Canada were also faced with a sea lice problem when salmon aquaculture was introduced. Now, on the west coast we have a problem. This is not magic. Sea lice kill salmon.”


The Scottish Executive recently concluded that “although there is as yet no absolute proof of a causal link between sea lice on wild salmon and salmon farming, owing to the increasing body of supporting (although as yet inconclusive) evidence, the burden of opinion has recently begun to swing in favour of accepting the likelihood that lice from farms constitute a direct threat to wild salmonids.” The Scottish Executive Summary (draw your attention to 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, and 4.9.)


The European Commission (2002) concluded “The reduction of wild salmonid abundance is also linked to other factors but there is more and more scientific evidence establishing a direct link between the number of lice-infested wild fish and the presence of cages in the same estuary.”