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Commentaries and editorials

Two Realities Deserve
Thorough Analysis for Salmon

by Eldon Baker
Peninsula Daily News, May 30, 2018

Atlantic salmon escaped from this Cooke Aquaculture net pen over the weekend off Cypress Island. This photo was taken Tuesday morning, August 22, 2017. (Beau Garreau / DAKO. 5TUDIOS) Two realities involving Pat Neal's obsession to increase hatchery salmon production in Washington state (e.g., “The Funding Crisis,” PDN, May 16):

The farms are sited where juvenile wild salmon must pass through as they migrate out of rivers during their migratory routes (“Farm-Raised Salmon Are Turning Our Oceans Into Polluted Feedlots,” Huffington Post, May 2011.)

The preponderance of evidence indicates that the farms pose significant pathogenic threats to wild salmon -- unrecoverable infestation of lice; piscine reovirus (“The Myths & Realities of the Salmon Farming Industry in BC,” Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.)

Many wild salmon from North American rivers roam far at sea in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, migrating thousands of miles from the time they leave rivers as juveniles until they return as adults.

It logically follows that some Washington state wild salmon pursuing migration must pass by British Columbia's salmon farms, and the resulting lethal infections do not distinguish between naturally propagated and hatchery propagated wild salmon.

Wild salmon maturing in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea depend on forage fish like anchovies, herring and sardines for survival.

Unfortunately, the forage fish face a multitude of threats and stressors, including ocean acidification from climate change, habitat loss, overfishing, pollution and increased demand for forage fish-based feed for aquaculture (“Forage Fish: Feeding the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem,” Oceana, October 2011.)

These realities deserve to be deliberated with thorough, science-based analysis and risk assessment by informed decision makers before any onslaught of Washington state hatchery salmon are subjected to precarious levels of disease and malnutrition.


Eldon Baker, Sequim
Two Realities Deserve Thorough Analysis for Salmon
Peninsula Daily News, May 30, 2018

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