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Endangered wild salmon at risk from sea lice out break at two Cooke net-pen sites in Annapolis Basin

"In a recent hearing before the Aquaculture Review Board, Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. (a division of Cooke Aquaculture) acknowledged it’s been dealing with elevated levels of sea lice in two of its fish farm sites: Rattling Beach and Victoria Beach. "

Ecologists say the elevated sea lice levels could impact the endangered wild Atlantic salmon population."

The Rattling Beach farm site is currently pending review by the ARB for a boundary amendment.

Excerpts above and below from:

Halifax Examiner | Ethan Lycan-Lang and Leslie Amminson | Dec. 1, 2021

Impact on wild salmon

"Sea lice are native to Canada’s Atlantic coast, meaning they have always been in the region. But Sean Godwin, a BC-based post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, said open-net pen farms create an environment in which sea lice can thrive.

'It’s like any form of agriculture, really,' Godwin said in an interview. 'You have a million organisms in a small space, kind of the perfect conditions for disease and parasites to proliferate. It’d be like COVID in a nightclub.'

What’s worrisome for ecologists is when the sea lice population grows too large. This can have a detrimental effect on salmon populations. "

“No data transparency” on Nova Scotia sea lice

"A big problem with the treatment of sea lice in Nova Scotia, Godwin said, is that the province is behind on public reporting and data availability.

'In places like British Columbia, where there’s a lot of wild salmon, and there’s a lot of spotlight on the issue, there’s a lot of public uproar about it. [Industry and government] are kind of obligated to be more careful, especially in light of a lot of the research that’s been done,' he said.

As well, Godwin said, the salmon farming industry in British Columbia is required to publicly report their sea lice counts. That’s not the case in Nova Scotia.

'There’s so many question marks about it because there’s no data transparency from industry or government,' Godwin said."

“The way that we’re talking about Nova Scotia salmon farming right now, in this conversation, is kind of how anywhere else in the world would have been talking about their salmon farming in like, 2000.”


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