|Styrofoam and reference Maria|
The relationship of sea lice and coho salmon is investigated in two recent studies, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. The first study investigated the potential role that predation plays in transmitting sea lice between salmon species. The authors - two of which hail from DFO's Pacific Biological Station - report that when coho salmon prey upon pink salmon that are carrying sea lice, the lice move to the coho - causing the coho to have substantially higher louse loads than they would otherwise. While the coho are larger and therefore should be expected to be more robust in the face of louse parasitism, the authors suggest that the magnification of louse loads due to predation may 'undermine' the benefits of their size advantage. The second study reports that coho in a region with open net-pen salmon farms had a seven-fold reduction in productivity during a time of recurrent sea lice outbreaks on the farms; the authors attribute this reduction to the transmission of sea lice from farm to coho via the predation effect noted in the first study, and via direct transmission of lice from farm to juvenile coho. Taken together, these studies offer an intriguing look into potential post-farm ecosystem effects of the release of sea lice from open net-pen salmon farms, and the authors point out that the results suggest that the broader ecosystem impacts of sea lice should be taken into consideration in the management of such farms.
And finally, the big news of the past few days: in a stirring display of snacking solidarity, the North American snack chip consuming public - a sizable demographic in every sense of the word - stood as one to deliver a unified message to would-be snack masters of the universe: do not make our chip bags noisy. It seems that Frito Lay, the corporate giant that gives us so many salty snacks and 'yo mama' joke punchlines, had the temerity to try putting Sun Chips in compostable bags. The problem? The bags were loud. Very, very loud. As someone who actually ran across one of these on a road trip a few week ago, I can attest that even trying to get just one or two chips out of one of those bags would pretty much stop conversation. It had the same effect as just yelling "PARDON ME BUT I'M JUST GOING TO GET SOME CHIPS WHILE YOU'RE TALKING". Anyway, the deafening nature of these bags proved too great a sacrifice for even the hippies that eat Sun Chips, and therefore Frito Lay has announced that the eardrum-perforating bags are being discontinued. So, consumers will be able to line their arteries in peace and quiet. Intellectuals are predictably apoplectic.
So, on October 8, 2010, we find more evidence that open net-pen salmon farms harm wild salmon, yet they are allowed to continue to do their thing - but we deep-six a potentially compostable chip bag because it is too loud. Yep, I'd say that pretty much sums up the zeitgeist.