In an op-ed in BC Local news Jay Ritchlin, director of marine and freshwater conservation for the David Suzuki Foundation, disputes an earlier article which asserted that sea lice from fish farms is considered a risk because of just one, or even a few, papers from the University of Alberta in the mid-2000s. Ritchlin calls the assertion absurd and says it should never have been printed un-checked.
He goes on to say that more than a decade of peer reviewed articles (articles that passed a panel of scientists before being printed) from researchers around the world document the risks and impacts of interactions between farmed fish, sea lice and wild fish. Even if the absolute details of the scale and severity of the impact on a stock-by-stock basis have not been fully agreed to, says Ritchlin, there is broad agreement that these risks are real.
Right now, the Eastern Canadian, Scottish and Norwegian fish-farming industries are facing problematic sea lice outbreaks, with the Norwegian government implementing an emergency lice limit at least five times more stringent than the level in B.C. Even with that, lice are developing resistance to the chemicals used to kill them, and pesticide-based controls may not work for long. It makes no ecological or economic sense to base an industry on the continuous need to develop and use toxic chemicals in a system that is open to the surrounding waters. >>> read full article here.