Sunday, February 28, 2010

Explosion of Drug Resistant Sea Lice

New evidence is arising that drug resistant sea lice have exploded in Nootka Sound. Nootka on the Islands West Coast is home to some of the healthiest remaining stocks of wild salmon and steelhead, all of which are threatened by an explosion of sea lice in the area. Drug resistant sea lice pose a major threat to wild salmon because high densities of the parasitic sea lice are lethal to outmigrating juvenile salmon. Despite their mandate to protect wild salmon stocks, DFO and the BC Provincial government have repeatedly denied and ignored warnings about drug resistant sea lice. While the farming companies and government agencies deny the spread of drug resistance, Alex Morton and her team of researchers have uncovered evidence that at least one salmon farming operation in Nootka has been dealing with the problem this winter. Furthermore, they are bringing salmon from Nootka to Campbell River for processing, and dumping waste products including drug resistant lice into the Georgia Strait. These actions will very likely result in drug resistance spreading to the east side of the island, the migration corridor for all lower mainland salmon, including Fraser River Sockeye.

The denial and coverup of the spread of drug resistant sea lice is startling and is yet another example of the criminal negligence displayed by DFO and BC's Provincial Government. A lack of action at this point all but guarantees the problem will grow worse, adding to the already tragic impacts on wild salmon in the region.

Check out a video on the outbreak on Alex Mortons website Calling from the Coast:

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