Researchers link fish farms to sea lice on Fraser sockeye

Researchers link fish farms to sea lice on Fraser sockeye

By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist February 12, 2011

Sea lice are spreading from fish farm salmon to young Fraser River sockeye as they migrate through the Strait of Georgia, a new study has found.

The research by scientists from Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science ONE this week.

It is the first time a proven link has been found between fish farms and elevated rates of sea lice on Fraser River sockeye.

Most research has concentrated on the effect of lice on juvenile pinks and chums.

“It’s groundbreaking. It’s the first study to demonstrate the role of salmon farms in transmitting sea lice to Fraser River sockeye … the crown jewel of salmon runs on the west coast,” said lead author Michael Price, of Raincoast Conservation and UVic.

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