fish farm siting criteria & politics

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by agentaqua, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Tsquared

    Tsquared Well-Known Member

    Agentaqua--You beat me to it. Thank you for your posts so far.
  2. Barbender

    Barbender Active Member

    Ok so let me get this straight. It is ok for anti aquaculture groups to fund their own research, come to wrongful conclusions, then pass it off as hard science. Then use that false data as a way to slander the industry and create media attention to something that is not true. Then accuse DFO for mismanagement with regards to the questionable research done by them in the first place. Confused yet? I will agree we need to do better job managing our resources for future generations. But this needs to apply to all sectors of the user groups equally.
  3. Barbender

    Barbender Active Member

    Yes but those fish are still given the same antibiotics as farmed fish. Fed the same food as farmed fish. Just not kept as long in the ocean. Huge difference I see.
  4. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    It's really not that hard to understand, Barbender - even to people who have strong dedication to the status-quo and links to their current paycheck.

    It's okay for any group (NGO, industry, DFO, etc.) to fund any science. The litmus test of whether the science is reliable - is a peer-review process - something that the NGOs have performed far superior on, than industry. The science is in, Barbender - and open net-cage technology has serious population-level consequences on adjacent wild salmon stocks. This has been proven the world over. Review the peer-reviewed science - not the news releases from the salmon farming industry.

    However, for a PUBLIC resource - it should be PUBLIC monies and PUBLIC servants (without any conflicts of interest) that manage these resources. It's really not that hard to understand.
  5. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    You are seemingly not getting it Barbender. You ask:
  6. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest


    With regard to the airport statement, I was trying to relate the size of area taken up by the industry, and not belittle an possible impacts.

    You can say political expediency, but I still maintain that it was an exercise of making a new situation fit into old rules. Kind of a square peg...

    Dongen was as you said acquitted by a judge.

    Alaskan salmon fry are put into the ocean in February and raised until May then released. Yes you are right the are not in there all that long, and possibly could not be the source of a lice infection. So in the absence of salmon farms to provide the only source of lice, how do the alaskan salmon get infected? I have seen lice on alaskan salmon with my own eyes.

    It is not good managment practice to have multi year classes of salmon on the same farm. If it is being done in a few cases, they will suffer the consequences, because the older fish could have an impact on the younger fish. That is why fallow periods are part of good farm management.

    Speaking of Fallowing, what would be an appropriate length of time in the spring to allow the out migration of smolts?

    I have no problem with NGO research funding. Knowledge is a a good thing, and hopefully will lead to better understanding and improved farming techniques. The issue I have is the way that it is typically presented by both sides. Instead of presenting findings like scientists, they are often presented like lawyers trying to win a case. I also do not like scientists from both sides using words like: possibly, may have, in my opinion, etc... These words have no place in science. The other acid test for science is that it is repeatable. Once a test is made and a conclusion is drawn, then any one should be able to do the same thing and get the same result. There is no maybe, either it is repeatable conclusion or it is not. I think that the scientists on both sides should pepeat the tests performed by each other to see if they are indeed repeatable.

    Do you want me to address all 10? Slow down, I can't type that fast.
    Most we have sort of dealt with, but on the shooting of seals, remember the cull on the Qualicum river to stop seals from eating outmigrating wild smolts?

    Peruvian anchovies are also used to make chicken, pork, and pet feeds. How come no complaint about their use in chicken farming ever comes form the NGO's?
  7. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    sockeye fry, you write:
    They why use it? It adds nothing to your argument.

    You then ask:
    Well, first-off - the lice you saw. Were they Caligus elongatus or Lepeotherius salmonis? Caligus are smaller, about 1/2 the size of leps, and are slightly reddish-pink and a little translucent. Leps are grey to nearly black. The egg strings are nearly white and very long on leps.

    If your fish had Caligus (which is very common) - they probably got them from the ubiquitous schools of subadult herring. If they were leps - it's likely they got them from subadult winter springs.

    None of these findings are particularly novel - nor does it in any way excuse nor diminish the potential effects on natal outmigrating wild smolts from adjacent numerous open net-pens of the fish farming industry which are commonly filled with large numbers of infected Atlantic salmon - such as is the case in the Broughton.

    you further write:
    I totally agree. It is NOT good management - but it is allowed in Canada. Other jurisdictions (such as Ireland) have whole-bay management where only single age-class stocking is allowed, and where there are synchronized fallowing and lice treatments. And unfortunately, not only will fish farmers "suffer the consequences", but so will the adjacent wild salmon stocks.

    But again - synchronized fallowing and synchronized lice treatments are not legislated in Canada. But the industry and the BCMAFF minister consistently proclaim that BC has the best and the toughest regulations in the world - blah, blah. Starting to understand the roots of the frustration - when you are consistently lied-to?

    your question:
    - was a most excellent one.

    From early April to late June would suffice for most places and species. You could fine-tune (and possibly shorten) this to an exact date and window if you had temperature recorders in adjacent creeks, and you followed the outmigration of the adjacent wild smolts. But again, this is not done in Canada.

    Finally, you write:
    I can't speak for the NGOs, of course - but the strain on the South American eco-system is severe because of the anchovy harvest. Penguin and seal numbers have been crashing due to the unsustainability of that harvest.

    As far as the salmon farming industry goes - does it make sense to turn ~4-5lbs of fish protein into 1lb? is this truly feeding the worlds poor? What about alternative non-pisciverous aquacultured species?
  8. ratherbefishing

    ratherbefishing Active Member

    I think our secret agentaqua man has hit one out of the park here...

    "As far as the salmon farming industry goes - does it make sense to turn ~4-5lbs of fish protein into 1lb? is this truly feeding the worlds poor? What about alternative non-pisciverous aquacultured species?"

    Localized impacts of aquaculture aside (real, perceived, proven, not proven or otherwise) the reality is the weight conversion for piscovourous fish is just whay out of whack with what the ecosystem(s) can support. Ratios of 3-7:1 (depending on who you talk to)just do not make sense. Forget the impact a few farms are having on some stocks of salmon locally, the mass unregulated harvest of anchovy on the southern hemipshere to feed our greed is just plain sad and not at all sustainable. Let's threaten a bunch of other species so we can continue to eat farmed salmon...that was sarcasm.

    Yup, I've got no scientific papers to back me up here but to me this is just plain common sense.

    I'll happily eat tilapia grown in pond!
  9. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest


    Your atatement of 4-5 lbs to make 1 lb is a long used exageration of the facts. It is used to make people who do not understand the issue, angry at such a waste of a resource. In actuallity, the Anchovies, Jack mackeral, and other oily species in Peruvian and Chilean waters are carefully harvested under strict management plans. 1 lb of these species is reduced to 0.5 lbs of fish meal. In 1 lb of fish feed there is 0.6 lbs of fish meal. It takes 1.1 lb of feed to produce 1 lb of salmon. Back calculating you can see that
    it takes 1.4 lbs of fish to make 1 lb of salmon. However, industry has long recognised the need for a more sustainable feed source, and has been steadily reducing its dependance on fish meal for the last 10 years. Chicken on the other hand requires the 3 lbs of wild fish to make 1 lb of chicken. Oops caught it at the warning track.

    Regarding my airport statement, I was merely illustrating that there is not a large area taken up by farms. It has been exagerrated in the past just how much area is actually devoted to salmon farms. It was made to appear like there was no more room in any harbour because they were plugged with farm cages.

    The lice I saw were mostly gravid Leps, with a few Caligus. I was merely pointing out alternate sources of lice infection for the wild salmon in the Broughton.

    Do you know of any farms currently stocking multiple year classes? It used to occur years ago before the effect was clearly understood.

    My understanding is that mandatory treatment lice levels are legislated. Lice treatment and fallowing are quite expensive for the farmer. The lice treatments have a direct benefit to his stock, but the fallowing does not have an immediate benefit. All sites should be fallowed for varying periods. I think that there should be a way of incorporating a fallow period into each sites production timetable. This may however mean the licensing of more sites to allow the companies to maintain production levels. What I mean is if a company is currently farming 4 sites, license them another 4 sites, with the legal requirement that they leave 4 empty each cycle.

    Another possible scenario is to licvense sites which are off the main migratory routes. Salmon could be moved to these sites during smolt migration and returned when the originals once the smolt are past.

    Would you be willing to entertain such scenarios?
  10. ratherbefishing

    ratherbefishing Active Member

    How about we move these two and their discussion to the General forum so this one, SALTWATER FISHING, doesn't get bogged?
  11. tyee hunter

    tyee hunter Member

    i dont know enough to make an educated argument on the subject......but this has always been my thought....
  12. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    HI sockeye fry, Seems like it's been quite a long, detailed - and I believe fruitful conversation over the past 20 or 30 postings. We are finally addressing the issues. I hope it's been just as informative and enjoyable for everyone else here reading and taking part.

    I must confess - I had been expecting your industry-promoted response on this issue, as well.

    Your first statement:

    In reality(as you know), few ocean fisheries are managed sustainably, especially including the Peruvian anchovy fishery. That fishery has had it's global catch as expressed in million of metric tons skyrocket from next to nothing in the early 1950's, until the early 1970's where up to 12.5 million tons per year were taken - where after it crashed - and the stocks have never fully recovered.

    This anchovy crash preceded the crash in the population numbers of both the Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins - which depended upon the anchovy resource, as well. It is estimated that the anchovy fishery currently takes up to 85 percent of the anchovies in Peru's waters. The anchovies are turned into fish meal, much of which goes to fish farms - let's be honest here.

    Fish need the fish oil to grow properly. The price of fish meal and fish oil has risen accordingly, as these supplies diminish. Suppliers have been scrambling - trying to find that magic other oil or percentage that will stretch the fish oil supplies.

    In Canada, under the Fisheries Act - it is unlawful to waste fish fit for human consumption. Only fish offal from processing plants can be used for rendering into fish feed. The industry has to go to third world countries to fulfill it's feed needs.

    The export of large biomasses of cheap, small pelagic fish from developing countries for the fish farm industry has had other unintended consequences. It also has removed a cheap source of protein from their people in some cases. Senegal, for instance, which is a significant exporter of marine products, also has a protein deficit among its rural population because the growth of export-oriented fish meal business.

    No matter what the individual fish or farm does with feed conversion ratios - globally, the fish meal industry has an enormous impact. Carnivorous finfish species consumed 52.8% and 81.9% of the total fishmeal and fish oil used in global aquafeeds in 2003.

    And no matter how hard you try to avert blame to those pesky chickens - those feed fish were taken out of the sea, and biomass was lost into the conversion into Atlantic salmon biomass (remember trophic mass transfer?). That same biomass could have instead been used directly - if one were to "take the pressure off of commercial fishing impacts", as is often promoted by pro-industry mouthpieces..

    Next, to address your statement:
    Up to the 1990’s - a typical average composition for Atlantic salmon feed is 35% fish meal and 25% fish oil. The current feed conversion ration (FCR) on British Columbia salmon farms can vary from 1.3 to 1.7 (ie: 1.3 to 1.7 tonnes of dry feed to make 1 tonne of farmed salmon for market), depending on farm efficiency and type of feed used. But what amount of wild fish is needed to make this quantity of dry feed?

    It takes about 4.7 tonnes of wild fish to make one tonne of fish meal. At 35% fish meal content, a tonne of dry feed contains 350 kilograms fishmeal. Therefore, 1.65 tonnes of wild fish is needed to make the fish meal used for one tonne of feed. However, it takes 8.3 tonnes of wild fish to make one tonne of fish oil (5). To make the 250 kilograms of fish oil found in one tonne of feed requires 2.08 tonnes of wild fish.

    At this point one must be careful not to double count the amount of wild fish used, since a given amount of wild fish will supply both fish meal (mainly protein) and fish oil (mainly fat). In the above example, the 2.08 tonnes of wild fish used to make the fish oil in one tonne of feed is more than enough to supply the fish meal component as well (only 1.65 tonnes of wild fish required for that). At 25% fish oil content then, it is the oil that determines how much wild fish is consumed to make the dry feed.

    Since a salmon farm in BC currently uses between 1.3 and 1.7 tonnes of dry feed (ie: FCR of 1.3 to 1.7) to make one tonne of farmed salmon, then the total amount of wild fish used to make one tonne salmon is between 2.7 and 3.5 tonnes (ie: the FCR multiplied by 2.08).

    Let's say then, 3 tonnes wild fish = 1 tonne of farmed Atlantics. This feed conversion ratio (FCR) estimation compares well to the FAO (2005a) FCR of 3.1-3.9 for salmon. Interestingly, the FCR of the non-carniverous tilapia is given as 0.23-0.28.

    Since the global world production of Atlantic salmon is some 1.5 MILLION tonnes - then 4.5 MILLION tonnes of wild forage fishes (~20% of the worlds fishmeal/fishoil supplies) are used to make that feed which makes 1.5 MILLION tonnes of Atlantic salmon.

    In other words, the global footprint of the carniverous salmon fish farming industry means 3 MILLION tonnes of fish protein are lost EACH YEAR in the conversion to salmon. This is not taking the pressure off the world's oceans - nor is it feeding the world's poor and needy.

    At present little or no consideration is usually given within the sustainability criteria (for the fishmeal/fishoil industry) that are used toward the consideration of wider ecosystem implications such as trophic interactions, habitat destruction, and potential social, economic and environmental benefits and risks (Bogstad & Gjosaeter, 2001; Carscadden et al. 2001; Dalsgaard et al. 1995; FAO, 1999; Folke et al. 1998; Furness, 2002; Huntington, 2004; Huntington et al. 2004; Jeroen et al. 1999; Lankester, 2005; Murawski, 2000; Pimentala, 2001; Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 2004).

    you state:
    Particularly on the West Coast of Canada - where there is often deep water, and treacherous winds that often switch as air is pushed-up over mountain passes - safe anchorages are at a premium. Many of these safe anchorages are quite small.

    Fish farmers have the same needs as everyone else when it comes to operating in safe sea states, but their morrage lines and anchor lines for their net-cage structures often run for hundreds of meters, and old, rusted wires are often disposed at sea nearby these facilities. It is extremely dangerous to entangle ones anchor lines in any of these lines.

    I call ******** - if you are trying to say that there aren't serious issues with fish farm tenures negating available safe anchorages on this coast. Coast Guard who administers the Navigational Waters Protection Act is also acutely aware of this. I will let the rest of the readers on this forum also chide you for this suggestion, as give us their experiences.

    to address your last statement:
    Alternative to the what - MILLIONS of farmed salmon. Always looking for alternative sources, eh? (hope we are already through debunking the stickleback agrument). Can't wait to hear you rationale here. Please enlighten us.

    finally, to address you question:

    I'd be willing to entertain any response that truly mitigates the negative population-level impacts of open net-pens - including putting them on shore.
  13. likwit

    likwit Member

    Where did that 'equation' come from?

    So these fish don't shit? (or only 9% of what they eat)
    And they don't burn off any calories (food) swimming around pens 24-7?

    You feed them 5.5 pounds of food and then voila? a 5 pounder?

    I don't really buy that... but if you can't point to something to convince me i'm all ears...
  14. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest

    Actually it is an option that has been tried several times, and all have met with failure, typically due to being uneconomical. There was a farm down near Nanaimo in Cedar I believe. It used to produce the Eco salmon (coho) that Thrifty's used to sell. Problem was that with increased costs of production, the price was higher, and not enough people were willing to pay it. It is technically possible, but under current economic conditions is not feasible. Land based farms solve some problems associated with open net pen farming, but not all, and actually can create more problems that it solves, depending on where it is located.
  15. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest


    You cannot place the blame for the fish meal woes all on salmon farming, when half the supply is used for other animal feeds, and fertilizer.

    You cannot debunk alternate sources of lice. These are significant natural sources which are contributing to the lice loads. These loads must be understood before you can make any recommendations regarding fish farm impacts. What if the sea lice loadings were found to be mostly from natural sources, and not salmon farms? Would you accept this finding? If the farms are contributing to the loadings, (papers on this to date has been more opinion than fact on both sides) then ways to mitigate the impact must be found. The first step is identifying the impact.

    I call BS on your calling BS on safe anchorages. They are not all taken up by farms. One glance at the coastline would tell you this. In addition, farms are on record as having provided shelter to boaters in distress. Because they are in remote areas with communication, and other emergency gear, they actually provide an unintended security net. I would suggest that the number of safe havens has actually been increased by the presence of fish farms.

    I would have expected more from you than suggesting farms be put on land. Surely as informed on salmon farms as you are you know that every on land farm has failed. I am not going to go into all the reasons why on land farming is worse than current practises, nor am I going into why it doesn't work. You of course know all this. However, you know that you can use this information. Without stating your true agenda, you convince an ignorant public that to save the wild salmon, the farms should be on shore. Farms are forced on shore, where they all fail. End of salmon farming in BC.
    Great solution. Thousands of people unemployed, lost revenue to the province all the result of bad science and narrowmindedness.
  16. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest


    I know it doesn't make sense, but it has to do with energy, not weight.
    In addition, the feed is dry, and the fish is wet. You are gaining the mass of the water as well.
    Some farms achieve 0.8 lbs feed to 1 lb fish.
    The currnt average in BC is 1.1 lbs feed to 1 lb fish.
  17. Dave H

    Dave H Well-Known Member

  18. Nerka

    Nerka Member

    "You cannot debunk alternate sources of lice. These are significant natural sources which are contributing to the lice loads. These loads must be understood before you can make any recommendations regarding fish farm impacts. What if the sea lice loadings were found to be mostly from natural sources, and not salmon farms? Would you accept this finding? If the farms are contributing to the loadings, (papers on this to date has been more opinion than fact on both sides) then ways to mitigate the impact must be found. The first step is identifying the impact." - Sockeyefry

    Everyplace, from Puget Sound to Alaska that people have looked for lice on fry during early marine residence (i.e. April/May) there are few if any L. salmonis (i.e. 0-5% prevalence) yet we have routinely seen an order of magnitude (i.e. 20-100%) higher prevalence on fry in the Broughton since 2001 when we started looking (and to be fair this has varied depending on the location of active farms). To say that these lice MAINLY come from natural sources is plain BS. First it was the huge aggregations of highly infected sticklebacks that were the source, but after looking at tens of thousands of lice form sticklebacks DFO could not find a single reproductive female and we now know that stickleback are actually eating the lice!. Then it was overwintering subadult coho and chinook, but after spending millions of dollars trolling in the Broughton over the winter DFO could not find them and was forced to ask the locals where to look for fish, to which they were told there are not any anymore.

  19. sockeyefry

    sockeyefry Guest


    Then where do the lice come from in Alaska?
    No fish farms to blame it on up there
  20. finaddict

    finaddict Well-Known Member

    The addition of water does not add energy to the feed. Please provide the scientific paper that can corroborate your claim of 1.1-1 conversion ratios.

    I am really looking forward to that paper

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