Mount Polley tailings spill effects could last for decades

Globe and Mail
September 14, 2014

Next spring, the sockeye eggs that are now being laid in spawning beds throughout the Fraser River system will hatch and the young fish – by the hundreds of millions – will migrate into lakes to rear.

And that, at least in one lake, could be a disaster.

Quesnel Lake, into which 24 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings flushed when the Mount Polley tailings dam burst, is one of the biggest and most important sockeye nurseries in the province.

No matter how hard Imperial Metals works to clean up the tailings that escaped, the heavy metals that swept down into Quesnel Lake are still there, settling out on the bottom, where they will slowly be taken up into the food chain.

In the spring, vast schools of young sockeye – estimated to be up to 60 million in some years – emerge from tributaries, and flood down into Quesnel Lake. There, they spend a year before migrating down the Fraser to the Pacific, returning to spawn as four-year-olds.

The year in the lake is a crucial period of growth in which the fish must become large enough to survive the rigours of the out-migration. No wonder then, that biologists and First Nations are worried not just about the immediate impact of the spill, but also about the long term.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

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Posted September 14th, 2014

Heterotrophic Algae May Fully Replace Fish Oil in Salmon Feed [Norway]

The Fish Site
September 12, 2014

Fish oil is an ideal source of omega-3 in salmon feed, but the capacity to produce farmed salmon using fish oil as the main source of omega-3 in feed is limited, if the farmed salmon itself is to remain a rich source of omega-3.

This means that the salmon feed industry needs access to large volumes of new ingredients that contain omega-3. Experiments at Nofima have shown that a type of algae known as “heterotrophic algae” can fully replace fish oil in feed used for small salmon.

“We need further sources of omega-3, and heterotrophic algae are one of very few real possibilities at the moment. The algae meal that we have tested contains nutrients that salmon need. We have managed to release and preserve the important nutrients through the process of manufacturing the feed, and this is a necessary condition for the use of this ingredient,” says scientist Katerina Kousoulaki.

Ms Kousoulaki works at the food research institute Nofima and, together with colleagues and the Feed Technology Centre in Bergen, has tested algae meal from heterotrophic algae in the feed of farmed salmon.

Read the full article on The Fish Site.

Posted September 12th, 2014

MPs seeking aquaculture feedback

Nanaimo News Bulletin
September 11, 2014

Public consultation related to proposed Fisheries and Oceans Canada aquaculture regulations has begun.

Minister of State John Duncan was in Nanaimo Tuesday for a roundtable with aquaculture stakeholders and to mark the start of information sessions on the Aquaculture Activities Regulations proposal, which the fisheries department hopes increases sustainable aquaculture production in the country while protecting the environment.

Duncan said the stakeholders, which consisted of First Nations and shellfish and salmon farming representatives, stated that the shellfish sector in the Pacific region has had negative one-per cent growth in the last 13 years, while the salmon farming sector has “essentially flatlined.”

Regulatory burden was pointed to as a hindrance, he said.

“Currently, the aquaculture sector is regulated by 10 different federal acts ... the Government of Canada is undertaking regulatory reform to streamline and simplify the current regulatory regime and ensure that it operates in an environmentally sustainable manner,” Duncan said, adding that the first step was the pre-publication of the proposal online.

In terms of the environment, the proposed regulations would add three new conditions to existing rules.

Aquaculture operators would have to provide written reports detailing alternatives before using regulated pesticides or drugs. Mitigation would have to be in place to minimize harm to wild fish and their habitat.

He said aquaculture currently contributes $2 billion to the country’s economy and there are opportunities to “tap into global demand” as there were new trade agreements with the European Union and South Korea.

People can provide feedback until Oct. 22. For more information, please go to and follow the links.

Read the full article in Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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Posted September 11th, 2014

Nova Scotia groups protest meeting on federal aquaculture rules [Nova Scotia]

Chronicle Herald
September 9, 2014

Potential conflicts between aquaculture controls being prepared for Nova Scotia, and those coming from the federal government, prompted a protest Tuesday at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada were at the institute for talks on new aquaculture regulations coming from Ottawa.

“This is an invitation-only event and we believe more people should have been invited,” Wendy Watson Smith, president of the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore, said in an interview in front of the institute.

Coastal community groups in the province deserve more input, she said.

Members of several coastal community groups participated in the protest that involved about 35 people.

There is concern among various coastal groups that proposed federal aquaculture regulations conflict with those in a draft report expected soon from a provincial panel on aquaculture, Watson Smith said.

She said there are worries new federal regulations will permit aquaculture operations to dump drugs, pesticides, and fish food and waste into harbours without a licence or environmental assessment.

“Draft provincial regulations call for more stringent regulations and a move away from the use of pesticides,” she said.

During the summer of 2013, members of the Doelle-Lahey Panel reviewed Nova Scotia aquaculture regulations and held meetings in 21 coastal communities.

A final report with some recommended provincial aquaculture controls is expected in weeks.

About 20 people identified as community stakeholders were invited to participate in the Tuesday technical briefing held by Fisheries and Oceans at the institute. It is part of an official consultation process that concludes Oct. 22.

“The draft regulations are out there for people to review and all Canadians are invited to review these regulations and to participate in the process,” Eric Gilbert, Fisheries and Ocean’s director general for aquaculture management, said in an interview.

Read the full article in the Chronicle Herald.

Posted September 9th, 2014

Information on sea lice drug would have cost $35K [Newfoundland]

September 9, 2014

Information that the leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberals claims is free in British Columbia, would have cost the party about $35,000 here.

Dwight Ball said the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture quoted him $25 per hour for almost 1,000 hours of work, plus another $10,000 for photocopying of information that was requested by the Liberals having to do with the drug SLICE.

SLICE is used to treat farmed salmon that have become infected with sea lice, a nemesis for both the fish and the companies that farm them.

"In many jurisdictions like B.C., as an example, this information is readily available to the public. Actually, the numbers are posted online,” said Ball.

His access to information request sought details on how much of the Health Canada-approved drug was being used in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We should have information on how much is being used, how much of it is coming into the province. This is not something we should be ashamed of,” he said.

Ball also wanted to know which companies were using SLICE, and whether or not they had to report every time they used it.

He said he was told that because SLICE is approved by Health Canada, that when a company uses SLICE they do not have to report it.

Ball said he was also told that usage only requires a veterinarian's prescription before SLICE can be mixed with salmon feed.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said it would take 996 hours for staff to compile and screen all the information for potentially sensitive information, and to ensure that any confidentiality agreements would not be broken.

The department noted the information might include private, third-party details that could breach the "veterinarian-client-patient relationship."

Ball said it's not necessarily the use of the drug that concerns him, but rather the effort and cost associated with accessing details about it.

Read the full article on CBC.

Posted September 9th, 2014