Monday, December 17, 2007

Fishing for disease

Just a brief note as I prepare a longer (and more depressing article) on farmed fish - salmon in particular. Hearing how local wild caught Connecticut River brood stock salmon, and their offspring, had to be killed off this month after Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) virus was detected in a few returning fish, I decided to take a closer look at the relationship between farmed fish and disease in wild fish.

It’s not a pretty picture, and although the link between IPN in our few and very precious local salmon is unclear, there’s plenty of evidence indicating that fish farming has increased disease in wild fish populations. Additionally there are a multitude of other problems that require attention – before farmed fish in a safe (and by this, I mean environmentally sound) manner.

For a quick read on the topic check out “Farming the deep blue sea,” an article about moving fish farming from near shore or coastal areas to offshore, published last spring in Environmental Science and Technology or more recently, Parasites from fish farms driving wild salmon to extinction in the news section of the journal Science.

So - enjoy your salmon in ignorant bliss over the holidays while you can. I'll be posting more on this, particularly the impacts of coastal and near-shore salmon farming in excruciating disease ridden detail later, after the new year.

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