Salmon feedlots are a breeding ground for the parasite known as sea lice. Wild salmon fry forced to pass by these feedlots on their way to the open ocean often face a gauntlet of sea lice. Even a few sea lice can be deadly to young salmon.
BC salmon farmers attempt to control the problem with toxic chemicals dumped directly into our waters. But sea lice adapt to these chemicals, and the problem keeps coming back to harm our wild salmon.
For years, wild salmon advocates have warned of the danger of viruses and other diseases from salmon feedlots spreading to BC's wild salmon, as it has happened in other countries where open-pen salmon farming takes place. Salmon farmers claimed it couldn't happen here. But now we know it has.
In 2016, DFO announced it had detected the much-feared piscine reovirus in both farmed and wild BC salmon, the same virus Norwegian scientists call a 'death knell' for wild salmon.
Wild salmon are the backbone of the BC Coast. They are a cornerstone of First Nations culture. They feed our people our orcas, our bears, our eagles and even our trees. We can't afford to lose them.
BC's foreign-owned open-pen salmon farmers know there is a better way, but continue to choose profit over preserving our cherished coastal ecosystem. If passed, Bill C-228 will see long overdue government action to protect our wild salmon.