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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-20-2002 10:59 PM
Check the General board in the Speyclave

OC asked for some input from BC guys. It seemed we didn't read closely enough and I posted a bunch of stuff there rather than here. Check out that board as there are a couple of links to research and reports that are pertinent to this excellent discussion.
12-20-2002 08:58 PM
flytyer OC,

Thanks for the info on the cost of doing inland fish farming. I still think this is the future of fish farming, although I'm very aware that until the far cheaper bay pen operations are regulated and made to quit poluting theinland farms will have a tough time competing. Glad to hear there is at least one being looked at as a possibility is Eastern Washington. Sure hope it can become a reality.
12-20-2002 04:38 PM
Pinks, Pens, Pesticides

Good day,
Sounds like the aquatic verson of "Soilen Green meets Frakenfish"! First line of defense, Hit them in the pocketbook. Tell all your friends and relitives to ask if its "farm raised" at the market, if it is, do not buy, unless from a responseable farmer. There must be some out there, anyone here know of any?, lets here what there doing!
Speynut, excelent eyeopener my friend, thanx
12-20-2002 09:40 AM
OC Scott K, boy that site you posted was really great. You have sportsmen from the left as well as the right posting on the internet in Canada. Down here all of our fishing sites have only strange land rights, right wingers that only fish in camo fatiges.

Gardener, as always with any enviro movement the emotions have to come first. Let us hope that your movement in Scotland will now have the time, funding and political power to help find alternative work for the peoples of the coast.

Many of us hope that the Salmon Farms will be able to be moved inland and into safe holding areas with proper treatment of effluent waste. Not sure that this will work untill the coastal net pen farms have been eliminated and total restrictions on imports are put on over seas farms. That would be hard with WTO policies now the mainstream. Reason we will not see inland fish farming untill the net pen farming is gone is cost.
I did some cost research for just polution control for a starting up farm on lets say one of our rivers in Eastern Washington.

First off one can not treat fish farm effluent with just UV disinfection as the organisms are to large and too many and the amount of UV light banks would be imense to get proper kill rate.
One would have to use chlorine gas disinfection with So2 de-chlor to nuteralize any Cl2 residual going into the river.

If the farms were required to meet pollution standards that city and counties are required to meet to treat thier sewage wastes on a river that has an ESA listing then there would have to be primary, secondary and a polishing treatment before disinfection.
This would have to be done as the farms waste is every bit as organic in content as a wastewater treatment plant. If the fish farm used 1 million gallons of water a day which seems likely for a small to average size farm and used the needed controls that a city wastewater plant does. The cost would be about 5 to 6 million dollars to start with the simplest facilities. The chemical and process control cost yearly not including labor and utilities would run about .5 million dollars a year.

Added cost for a fish farm would come from the amount of hazardous chemicals they use in disease control. These chemicals would not be removed from conventional treatment and would need to be stripped out by air towers or by chemical stripping. This cost would be an added 2 to 3 million dollars to build.

As we can see it will be hard for an inland farm to compete with a net pen farm with virtually no restrictions on it. But I want to point out that inland farms are happening, just this week got a call from Scotland about some pollution control equipment for an inland salmon farm in Eastern Washington that the Scottish company owns. I am looking forward to working with this company and seeing if we can make it cost effective and enviromentally safe.
12-19-2002 06:13 AM
Politics etc...

OC and Flytier, the trouble is that the fish farms were originally welcomed by many, including angling interests. The places where they are mostly found, notably the West coasts of Scotland and Ireland, are very poor areas where there is little industry and unemployment is a serious problem. Traditionally, crofting/subsistence farming was the principal occupation, but with changes in farming (and specifically the collapse in the wool market worldwide), it is increasingly hard to make any sort of living thereby, let alone one that you might regard as meeting 21st Century standards. There is a serious problem of depopulation, with communities dropping below the Ďcritical massí required to maintain schools and services, consequent loss of cultural heritage etc. So fish farming was (and is) regarded by many as a positive development in these areas.

Furthermore many people believed that aquaculture would relieve some pressure on wild fish stocks. As you are no doubt aware, there are efforts being made to stop the netting of salmon round the coasts of the British Isles, as well as on the high seas. It stands to reason that a ready supply of cheap, farmed fish would help to lower the price of wild salmon and make netting operations less attractive. It would have the further effect of reducing large-scale poaching, which remains a problem in some places.

So there were good reasons to welcome the fish farms initially. The problem is now that they do provide a source of income to poor areas; one which, even given the prices we have to pay for our fishing here, would probably never be supplanted by revenue from increases in fishing-related tourism. The actual job figures may be open to debate, but itís hard to argue for the total cessation of an industry that is now perceived as one of the economic lynchpins of these areas. One concern, for me, about the anti-farm protests is that they donít yet seem able to offer a viable alternative to the existing system, and without that any campaign seems rather hollow. This, I guess, is why Bruce Sandison is currently concentrating on trying to persuade consumers to buy alternatives to farmed salmon (eg Alaskan wild salmon); at the same time conservation bodies are working with the fish farmers to see if a less damaging system of aquaculture can be worked out.
12-18-2002 11:15 PM
flytyer Gardener,

Thanks for the info and the perspective from your part of the world. Maybe, just maybe we fishermen who care about the resource will be able to get the policians to see and acknowldge that their is a problem. After which they will do something, resulting in improved fisheries and the removal of these threats.

I wholeheartedly agree that they only safe way to farm fish is in inland tanks or lined ponds with all waste water treated before being allowed into a waterway.
12-18-2002 08:17 PM
Scott K Read the article which is linked to in this thread:
12-18-2002 02:53 PM
OC Thanks Gardener,

The info is great and the links are perfect.

Do you have any idea how fish farms are even able to get their foot in the door in places such as Scotland? I believe you have limited amounts of money your politicians can recieve to campian their bid for office so how does it happen?
12-18-2002 01:51 PM
Gardener: One heck of a read!

Keep your eye's posted for more of this kind of information. The web connect really added some additional perspective.
12-18-2002 12:59 PM
The British Perspective

This issue is certainly a hot topic in UK circles, and one I feel very strongly about - apologies for not picking it up here earlier, but I don't normally look at this section. Apologies too for what will be a long post.

Perhaps the main issue currently is the question of sea lice and their effect on sea trout (sea-run browns), although there are other worrying consequences of this industry also.

Sea lice occur naturally in coastal waters, and attach themselves to salmon returning from their open-ocean feeding grounds. The concentration of salmon in an inshore farm leads to huge numbers of lice and their eggs. A few lice on an adult salmon aren't a problem. However, the lice also attack salmon and sea trout smolts after they decend the rivers to go to sea. These small fish are very vulnerable, and it is at this stage that the damage is caused. Smolts have been found, severely emaciated and infested in some cases with hundreds of lice which quite literally eat them away. It is sea trout in particular that are vulnerable because they feed in coastal waters and so the lice persist on them. By contrast, once salmon have 'run the gauntlet' they go to the open sea where lice are not a problem, although this is not to say that there is not significant mortality of salmon smolts as well as they pass through. Once famous sea trout fisheries like Loch Maree in Scotland and Delphi in Ireland have seen their numbers reduced to a fraction of their former catches. There appears to be a direct link between the placing of salmon cages near a river mouth and fall-off of sea trout numbers - and when cages are 'fallowed', numbers improve again. Fishermen have seen this correlation for years, although the fish farmers have only just acknowledged that a link exists at all.

Sea lice are controlled in salmon farms using chemicals such as 'Nuvan'. This is highly toxic to other marine life (as well as carcinogenic to humans), and has been linked to severe fall-offs in invertebrate life around salmon cages.

Because salmon cages are generally located in areas of low tidal activity and little current, waste products (principally excrement and uneaten food) accumulate on the sea bed under the cages. This leads to areas of the sea bed being poisoned, and can cause the blooms of toxic algae which affect, for example, shellfish. In extreme cases it results in 'red tides' which kill all marine animal life across a wide area.

There are other diseases and parasites associated with farmed salmon. Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) and Gyrodactylus salaris are two. These can be transferred into rivers. A number of Norwegian rivers have been treated for Gyrodactylus - this basically involves pouring poison into the headstreams to kill every fish in the river. The rivers can then be restocked with healthy fish. This, so far as I am aware, is the only way of eradicating this parasite once it is present in a system.

Occasionally large numbers of fish escape from farms. They will run up the nearest river and attempt to spawn. We are coming to understand more about the genetic integrity of individual populations of fish, adapted by natural selection over many generations to best suit their particular home river. And it is clear that a large number of 'alien' spawners in a river with already reduced numbers of native fish could dilute the genetic integrity of a population. These escaped fish can also carry the diseases mentioned above into the rivers.

There are a few deep water, open sea farms that get round some of the problems, but they all dump chemicals and waste into the sea in a way that would cause an outcry if it occurred on land. The only responsible way to farm fish is in inland tanks or ponds, with all waste water treated before being returned to its source. I'm afraid it's very much a case of 'out of sight, out of mind' as far as what happens in the sea is concerned.

There is a small campaign running currently to bring the problem of salmon farms to peoples' attention, led by well-known Scottish fisherman and writer Bruce Sandison. For more information, have a look at
12-16-2002 08:48 AM
OC Thanks Inland,

I guess you can run but you can't hide for long. I wonder if they have a Salmon run in the rivers of N. Korea.
12-13-2002 08:58 PM
inland OC,

With the history of salmon farms, and the destruction they are still causing, it seems logical that they are a contributing factor in this recent decline. Possibly more so than we know.

But, just to leave you in a good mood- Russia is not exempt from the problem. Fishing the Kola's E. Litza this past year, my partner landed a bright escapee of about 18#'s. Probably from the Norwegian farms.

12-13-2002 09:08 AM
OC Beau,
I think Ed Ward may have it right about Puget Sound Steelhead smolts migrating north up the coast and by all those wonderful Salmon farms. Last couple of years have been asking marine scientists if this could be so. Answer I get is not enough study done on smolt migration but what has been done shows that Puget Sound smolts go directly and quickley out the strait. That sounds fishy to me. How can we have 3 good years of ocean conditions with more than enough forage fish for food supply and not be getting our steelhead back?

Norway is not the only place where fish farms have killed off a large population of native fish. One of Ireland's coasts lost it's run of fish due to sea lice infestation from fish farms. On our east coast we had wild Alantic Salmon coming back quite well for years but have crashed in the last 5 years or so. Could that have anything to do with Maine and New Brunswick increasing their fish farming opportunities?

Fish farming should be an international crime and those very wealthy investors from Norway, Japan and the rest of the world should be brought to justice. They know exactly what fish farms are doing to the worlds oceans and its native peoples who have to live by these farms and can no longer feed their families due to the polution, removal of habitat and the disease of native fish. What do you want to bet that a lot of these investors no longer fish their home rivers in Norway because fishing sucks but spend many of fine day fishing Alantic Salmon now in Russia far away from the devistation their wealth and political power have created.
12-12-2002 10:12 AM
beau purvis
fish farms

last winter Ed Ward mentioned the thought that puget sound steelhead smolts migrate up th coast past those B.C. fish farms. one theory on the low returns for the "inside" rivers is the sea lice problem as they migrate out to sea. thanks for that very well done all inclusive piece on the problems. i used to be encouraged that we could stop chasing fish allover the seas and eliminate all the bycatch problems. now i am a firm believer in raising these fish where there are no resident wild populations.too much bad evidence from Norway. reminds me of how we were all seduced by fish ladders and hatcheries that suposedly would solve our problems.
Bob,i have not read that book yet.dont need that depression at present.however, i presently see our rivers as healthier than in times past.i see it as rivers without fish. lots of prime redd gravel without redds.the fish cant make it back.
12-11-2002 11:23 PM
Bob Pauli
Speybum-Thanks for that posting

Salmon without Rivers

Reading this book makes you sick.
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