Cermaq to move ahead with toxic sea lice treatment
The provincial government has granted Norwegian salmon farming giant Cermaq a permit to dump over 2 million litres of pesticide into the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound. That’s enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pesticide use application sparked controversy last fall, when thirty four thousand people signed a SumOfUs petition opposing the permit.
Environment Minister George Heyman announced in December that his government will be reviewing all pesticide use on open-net pen salmon farms in BC. That review is not yet finalized. On their website Cermaq says it has ‘no immediate plans to use this treatment’—so what’s the big rush?
Cermaq plans to transfer their farmed salmon into a ‘well boat’, where they are immersed in a chemical bath which stuns but doesn’t kill the sea lice. It can take up to two weeks for the farm fish to recover, during which period they are susceptible to disease outbreaks. The treatment is known to harm farmed fish and has caused mass die-offs.
Chemicals to be flushed directly into ocean
After treatment is complete, the chemicals are flushed directly into the ocean. The pesticide (Paramove 50) can be extremely persistent in the environment, and is known to harm marine organisms, primarily affecting surface dwellers such as wild salmon, herring, and prawn and crab larvae.
Sea lice continue to plague the salmon farming industry globally. The chemical treatments Cermaq wants to use have not solved the sea lice problem, anywhere in the world. Clearly a new approach is needed, which is why we’re seeing a global shift to land-based salmon farming. Why should we sacrifice local food security, the wild salmon economy, and the iconic ecosystems of Clayoquot Sound, when the writing is clearly on the wall?
The Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region is meant to demonstrate a working balance between conservation and sustainable development. Clearly chemical treatments of sea lice are not sustainable, and harm conservation values. The only effective solution to the industry’s sea lice crisis, is to remove open-net pen salmon farms from the ocean.
Please call or email Environment Minister George Heyman and voice your concerns about this pesticide permit. 250-387-1187 ENV.firstname.lastname@example.org
We need your help to fight this pesticide permit and to continue to expose the dirty practices of the salmon farm industry. Will you pitch in $10, 25, $50 or more to help make the voice for wild salmon stronger?
Clayoquot Sound’s wild salmon economy supports families, and feeds trees, bears and wolves. Getting salmon farms out of the ocean will allow all of this to thrive. Please give generously, this fight is big, but together we can win this!
Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.