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Group says Wild Fish Threatened

by Associated Press
Seattle Times - January 14, 2003

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Sea lice from farmed salmon pose a risk for the health of wild salmon, says a report released yesterday by a British Columbia conservation group.

But despite years of questions and accusations from those on both sides of the aquaculture debate, there still is a lack of solid scientific research about the effects of salmon farms on wild stocks, said the report by the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council.

"Unfortunately, our state of knowledge about the potential impacts of salmon farming on wild salmon allows few definitive declarations about where the truth really lies," said the report, "Making Sense of the Salmon Aquaculture Debate."

"Instead, we are faced with partial information, untested theories and a great deal of uncertainty."

In November, the group said salmon farms should be temporarily shut down beginning next month to prevent a collapse of wild pink salmon runs on northeastern Vancouver Island, citing a sea-lice infestation of wild pink salmon.

British Columbia's Liberal government lifted a moratorium on fish-farm expansion earlier last year over the objections of environmentalists concerned about disease, pollution and the possibility that escaped farmed Atlantic salmon could displace wild stocks in spawning streams.

The report by the council, an independent group funded by government, said preventive measures have reduced the risk of infections and escape at fish farms.

Associated Press
Group says Wild Fish Threatened
Seattle Times, January 14, 2003

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