Sunday, June 8, 2008

75,000 young salmon die in highway accident

75,000 young salmon being trucked from the Colman National Fish Hatchery in California to acclimation pens in San Pablo Bay died on May 19 on route when the oxygen pumps in their tanks failed to deliver enough oxygen. The salmon transport is part of an effort to get fish past the killer water export pumps and predators and into pens operated by the Fishery Foundation of California rather than directly into the bay, where their initial disorientation makes them prey to predators. Some 100,000 other young salmon were delivered safely. Counterpunch.

California salmon levels are so low that the salmon season has been closed, bring economic disaster to the commercial fishing industry and fishing communities. The Farm Bill will pump $170 million into the communities in the form of economic disaster funding.

Just as bees are struggling with Colony Collapse Disorder, so salmon are facing a collapse. The difference with salmon is that many of the causes are known. Besides the difficulties of salmon negotiating the dams and water pumps that dominate every route salmon take to the sea, salmon and trout depend on cold water to breed and travel. The National Resources Defense Council says trout and salmon could lose up to 17% of their habitat by 2030.

Don't think that farmed salmon can in any way make up for the loss of habitat. Fish farms in Chile are being plagued with a virus called Infectious Salmon Anemia, killing millions of salmon. Farmed and Dangerous, a U.S.-based environmental organization, provides a list of why anyone should think twice about eating farmed salmon: fish lice, high levels of dangerous chemicals, and real risks to the wild salmon population, as well as other animals.

The Bush Administration, apparently, is encouraging preserving wild salmon by attacking their natural predators. Ted Williams at High Country Times writes about the ridiculousness of this approach. Farmed and Dangerous reports:
Salmon farmers are granted licenses to kill predators such as sea lions and seals to stop them eating their fish. In the spring of 2001 a mass grave containing at least 15 sea lions killed by a farm operator was discovered in Clayoquot Sound. Since then, more pits of dead sea lions have been found in the same area. BC salmon farmers reported having killed at least 5000 seals and sea lions in the last decade. The real figure could be much higher as some kills according to fish farm employees go unreported.
If you enjoy salmon, I'd suggest eating wild salmon only.

Graphic from The Why Files: Farmed Atlantic salmon (red), especially from Europe, showed the highest contamination of flame retardant. Five species of Pacific salmon (green) had much lower levels. Data Courtesy Ronald Hites, University of Indiana.

1 comment:

theplantman said...

Hey! Let's get the real truth out! the solution to the California Salmon recovery recovery is blowing up all unused dams on the major northern california rivers and believe me there are quite a few. With the expected windfall from the gasoline tax (estimated at $55 billion), lets see if the politician make the right use of some of those funds to correct this problem.