B.C. coast used as a 'sewer' by salmon farmers: scientist
B.C. salmon farmers upset about a recent University of Alberta study on sea lice killing wild salmon are more concerned with making money than protecting the coast, says the study's co-author.
Speaking to B.C.'s Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture at a meetingin the fishing community of Campbell River, Neil Frazer said salmon farmers are "blowing smoke" when they attack the study's credibility.
"Many people choose their science the way they choose their religion: it fits the way they want the world to be," he said.
Frazer also said that the study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences involved excellent, peer-reviewed science.But he told CBC News he isn'tsurprised the salmon farmers don't like it.
"Not having to go to closed containment saves them money. They use the coast as a sewer, basically, sothey're naturally not going to like any science that would stop them from making money."
Frazer said fish farms have increased sea lice numbers by providing more hosts. And they keep sea lice numbers artificially high in the spring when young wild salmon head out to sea.
B.C. Salmon Farmers Association spokeswoman Mary Ellen Walling said the study was incomplete.
"They are not including the information that's been provided from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They've not included things like salinity. They haven't looked at climate conditions.
"And the results that they are asserting don't match up to what we're seeing on the ground."
Frazer said scientists with Fisheries and Oceans have been misleading the public with "propaganda" science.