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Friday, October 29, 2010

Sea lice treatment kills adult lobsters on east coast

High-profile drama seems to always surround B.C. open net-pen salmon aquaculture, so it's easy for West Coasters to sometimes forget that there are open net-pen salmon aquaculture operations in Atlantic Canada as well. We should definitely be paying attention to what's been going on out there in the past few days, though, where an outbreak of sea lice has precipitated a flurry of activity.

The short story: last week, Health Canada gave an emergency go-ahead (with conditions attached) for salmon farmers to use the pesticide deltamethrin to kill sea lice, even though lobstermen and others were worried that the stuff would kill lobsters. Late this week, Environment Canada found that deltamethrin, when used in net-pens, indeed does kill adult lobsters, and as a result the use of the stuff has been restricted to 'well boats' that are closed to the ocean.

So that's where things stand at the moment: a pesticide approved for use by one branch of government to kill bad crustaceans (sea lice) has been found by another branch of government to kill good crustaceans (lobster).

Just need DFO in there for the full effect
Finally, to add to the drama, a number of individuals and organizations concerned about the impacts of aquaculture on fisheries and the marine environment announced that they were forming the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform. Of particular concern are the impacts of salmon farms on the lobster fishery, which has tremendous social, cultural, and economic value to the east coast.

So that's the week that was in salmon aquaculture back east. And now, I hope you'll excuse me because I'm about to go on a short and polite rant.

Hang your head in shame, anonymous CBC reporter, for the reporting in this article. Hang your head, for you repeat industry propaganda by reporting that "less than a shot glass" of the pesticide is used per salmon pen. By doing so, you fell for - and repeated - one of the oldest and most disingenuous tricks in the book: the "look at how little we're using, it can't be that bad" argument. This argument is meant to do only one thing: reassure people via false assumption. Different substances have very different potencies - indeed, the more potent something is, the less has to be used to achieve the effect. After all, you don't want to drink 'only a teaspoon' of dioxin, nor do you want to be in the vicinity of 'a few kilos' of uranium undergoing nuclear fission. You, as a CBC reporter, should have known better than to so credulously repeat the 'less than a shot glass' storyline, because it's nothing but a misdirection play meant to soothe people via a false assumption.

So says I.

Merry weekend, everyone.


  1. Yes Alphamax has killed lobsters. As has other treatments for sealice used by aquaculture. Just last January as a matter of fact. Lobsters found dead in traps alomost 50 km from the site.
    This is the third time that we know of, how many small larval lobster have been killed over the last 20 years, who knows?
    Not to mention all the other little organisms, the building blocks of life in the Bay of Fundy that have been poisoned in the name of fish farming. Copepods a food source for endangered North Atlantic right whales, krill a humpack whale food source has been disappearing in the Bay of Fundy for that last 15 years. We are seeing more red tides, algae blooms, loss of periwinkles, our pollack have pink flesh, dulse is unharvestable, slimy beaches, smelly harbours, greasy coatings on our boats, the list goes on and on.
    St. Mary's Bay Coastal Alliance, Friends of Shelburne Harbour, Friends of Pt. Mouton Bay, Commity to stop aquaculture in North West Cove, Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform have all been formed here in the maritimes to try and stop open net fish farms. Any place there is a large scale open net salmon farm, there is a community group who is living with the pollution from these sites trying to get government to do something about it. Nova Scotia is a third world country when it comes to regulating aquaculture, our province is steamrolling ahead with the development of feedlot salmon farms, housing millions of salmon per farm. The one proposed for St. Mary's Bay alone is 208 acres and will farm 2 million salmon. Our politicians telling us they want to be able to compete for world demand, and if the environment and traditional fisheries suffer, so be it.....
    Greed, it is all for greed.
    Sign our Submission to Government if you agree, it represents all Canadian coastal waters:

  2. Barbara Watson SIDNEY BCOctober 31, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    So say I, too, here in British Columbia. We are also determined to protect our coastal waters for our coastal people. We must band together to remove these blights from our waterways, water sources and safe havens. We are with you all the way.

  3. I lived in a cabin on the coast in Salmon River, N.S. 40 years ago and loved the pristine beauty of the coastline. It saddens me to know that there is an ongoing struggle between the people and the government to maintain and protect your coastal waters...It's a a crusade that I will continue to support in any way I possibly can.

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