Responses to 2nd Letter from Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Assoc.

Following on an initial TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL commentary on Dec. 28 from Pam Parker, Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, a series of eight responses drew attention to problems with existing net-pen aquaculture.

On Jan. 13, 2014 Pam Parker responded, claiming inaccuracies in those eight letters. (click here to read). Since then there have been responses dealing with her second letter.


Jan. 15, 2014 - ROBERT BAKER

Land-based salmon a better solution?

Pamela Parkers’ letter (“Letters contain inaccuracies,” Jan 13) in the Telegraph-Journal stating that the decline of wild salmon is not due to one single cause may have some truth to it.

However, is it any coincidence that the precipitous decline of wild Atlantic salmon populations in both inner and outer Bay of Fundy rivers generally coincides with the development of open net salmon farming in the Bay of Fundy?

Moreover, it has been thoroughly demonstrated in many areas, from Norway to the Broughton archipelago off the British Columbia coast to areas off both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland that sea aquaculture of salmon has brought with it catastrophic increases in sea lice populations and high incidences of disease such as infectious salmon anemia, both highly detrimental to wild Atlantic salmon populations, while government subsidies to this supposedly viable industry are a considerable burden to taxpayers of the region while exacerbating the effects of all other negative factors on our wild Atlantic salmon.

Does this not suggest that land-based systems which could provide food fish while not adding to negative effects on the wild fish, allowing for a viable recreational fishery, are not well worth consideration?

Robert W.Baker
Bathurst, NB

Jan. 16, 2014 - JOHN BAGNALL

Writer answers salmon concerns

On Jan. 13, Pamela Parker (“Letters contain inaccuracies”) contended that recent letters criticizing her call for an increase in salmon aquaculture included inaccuracies.

Her contentions were:

  1. COSEWIC has concluded the decline in the abundance of wild Atlantic salmon can be attributed to a number of factors.
  2. The feed conversion of aquaculture salmon is excellent compared with cattle and pigs.
  3. The salmon harvested met standards for export to the U.S.

With respect to the first issue, I was specifically addressing the decline of the Inner Bay of Fundy salmon, not wild Atlantic salmon in general. In 2006, COSEWIC was uncertain as to probable causes. They didn’t attribute the decline to several causes.

In 2008, Jason Bryan of Acadia University examined indices for 82 factors for potential correlation with the decline. Only five were significant:

  1. the number of aquaculture market salmon produced
  2. number of aquaculture sites
  3. total salmon aquaculture production
  4. the abundance of seals
  5. cormorant nest counts.

Those Ms. Parker suggested showed no correlation.

The second contention is misleading. Cattle are herbivores, two trophic levels below salmon (mid-level carnivores). Salmon are 100 times less efficient at converting plants into animal tissue.

She also refers to the dry-weight of food to calculate feed conversion for salmon. When wet weight is employed, the conversion rate for salmon is much worse than she implies.

In the case of the Shelburne fish in 2012, the CBC reported that because of ISA infection the producer was ordered to slaughter their fish, and was paid $13 million in compensation.

If Ms. Parker wanted to simply inform the readers about the UN’s urging Canada to increase aquaculture production, she should not have done so by equating the request with a call for an increase in the open net pen feedlot production of salmon.

John Bagnall
President, New Brunswick
Salmon Council