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Interview Opportunity: World’s largest salmon producing river threatened by escape of 30,000 farmed fish

Thursday, July 3rd 2008 4:49:12pm

Attention: News, National, Reporters and Assignment Editors

Interview Opportunity

British Columbia – World’s largest salmon producing river threatened by escape of 30,000 farmed fish


Alexandra Morton


On Canada Day, a Marine Harvest fish farm net released 30,000 farmed Atlantic salmon into the Campbell River putting them right in the path of wild juvenile salmon swimming down the Campbell River.

The farmed fish are not indigenous to the coast and will place undue pressure on the native stock that is already reeling from sea lice and warmer sea temperatures.

For too long, commercial fishers, First Nations, the public and wild salmon have taken the hit – it’s time that fish farms take the hit and do the responsible thing.

Coincidentally Morton is part of a research effort finding excessive numbers of sea lice on Canadian’s largest run of salmon, the Fraser sockeye. Morton and others published a paper this year on a lesser louse infestation on juvenile sockeye in 2005 and those fish never returned closing the entire south coast of BC to sockeye fishing.

Ms. Morton will be able to comment on the following points:

• Farm lice  currently infesting Canada’s biggest migration of juvenile salmon from the Fraser River, one of the world’s largest salmon producing rivers
• Preventing escapes - closed-off pens (closed containment)
• Sea lice levels on wild salmon have been severe and population declines of 98% have been recorded in this high farm density area on the coast.

• New data published in the journal Science predicts that wild pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago will be driven to extinction within four years unless action is taken to address the deadly impact of sea lice from salmon farms.

More information, images and video of wild salmon fingerlings infected with sea lice will be available tomorrow at 8:00 am PST (11:00 am EST) www.callingfromthecoast.org .

To schedule interviews with Alexandra Morton, contact:

Jonathan Laderoute

Alexandra Morton
Salmon Coast Field Station
(250) 974-7177
Cell: (250) 949-1664