Salmon forum issues invite to Science article author Published: 19 December, 2007
The Forum’s research does not support Martin Krkosek’s findings
THE author of the recent Science article that claimed that wild salmon on Canada’s west coast are being driven to extinction by parasites from nearby fish farms, has been invited to meet with the British Columbia Pacific Salmon Forum to discuss his research.
In a statement issued yesterday, the BC Pacific Salmon Forum said that its $2.5million worth of research in this area does not come to the same conclusions as Martin Krkosek of the University of Alberta.
Using a mathematical model of epidemiology and data gathered in and before 2005 on pink and chum salmon populations in the Broughton Archipelago, Mr Krkosek argued that the transfer of sea lice from salmon farms to wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago would effectively eliminate wild salmon in the Broughton’s rivers.
Since 2005, the Forum says it has commissioned some $2.5million in field and laboratory research, most of it focused on the Broughton Archipelago, involving more than a dozen of the leading scientists in Canada. This research, which is taking place under the guidance of a Science Advisory Committee, composed of many of Canada’s leading fish biologists, will not be complete until the end of 2008, at which time its overall findings will be peer reviewed and made public.
However, the Forum says that interim findings from this research, to be released in early January 2008, do not support the Krkosek prediction of rapidly declining pink and chum salmon stocks in the Broughton.
“The marine survival of pink salmon to the Glendale River, the region’s major producing river for pinks has been equal or better than the survival rates for pinks in other coastal watersheds where there are no salmon farms,” the Forum said. “Pink salmon returns in the other Broughton watershed were as good as or better than those that occurred in 2005. All the field researchers noted that over 80 percent of the wild salmon smolts migrating out of the Broughton in the spring of 2007 had no lice whatsoever.”
The Forum is inviting Mr Krkosek to meet with its Science Advisory Committee to discuss his study.
“The extent of the impact of salmon farming on wild salmon is still not fully understood, nor is there a consensus of scientists on the best ways to minimise that impact,” it added.
The BC Pacific Salmon Forum describes itself as a group of “well informed citizens”, chaired by Hon. John Fraser, appointed by the BC Government in 2005 to commission research into salmon issues, fill knowledge gaps, and make recommendations in 2008 aimed at ensuring sustainable wild and farmed salmon industries.
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