Submitter: Vivian Krause
Community: North Vancouver
Date Submitted: April 9, 2010
Claims that sea lice from salmon farms cause high mortality among wild juvenile salmon or that farmed salmon contain harmful levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are false. The widely-cited studies making these claims contain serious flaws, and were funded by organizations that have been paid to promote the consumption of wild salmon.
Claims that published research shows that sea lice originating from salmon farms cause high mortality among juvenile salmon in the wild, are false. Here's why: 1) Sea lice levels at salmon farms and mortality in the wild were never measured. 2) A technique for tracing the origin of sea lice does not exist, 3) The data is correlative and inconclusive, 4) The use of data was highly selective: data prior to 2000 and data for the largest salmon producing watershed in the study area, was excluded. The peer review of this sea lice research appears to have failed in that an unsubstantiated claim was not nipped in the bud. The journals where some of this research is reported (eg. Conservation Biology, PLoS and SCIENCE), have been heavily funded by the U.S. foundations that fund Alaskan salmon marketing. The Editor-in-Chief of SCIENCE is the trustee of a U.S. foundation that has granted about $75 million to shore up demand for "wild" fish - especially Alaskan fish - while swaying consumers and retailers away from the competition: farmed fish. More information is at www.fair-questions.com
COMMISSION STAFF NOTE: The current editor-in-chief of Science, Bruce Alberts, is a trustee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation which funds a program called the Wild Salmon Ecosystem Initiative that aims to:
- Protect habitat in selected watersheds across the North Pacific
- Reform aquaculture practices to substantially reduce risk to wild fish from escapes, disease/lice transfer, and unprocessed waste outflow
- Reform hatchery propagation practices to safeguard the productivity and diversity of wild fish
- Ensure that salmon fisheries are managed sustainably.
The former editor-in-chief of Science, Donald Kennedy, is a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Foundation has a Marine Fisheries Subprogram Strategy that guides its grant-making. This strategy has four integrated major elements:
- Market interventions for sustainability in marine capture fisheries
- Policy reforms for ocean conservation
- Arctic fisheries and ecosystem management
- Aquaculture sustainability tools.