Friday, June 03, 2005

I Like Mine Wild!

Now, there's one more reason to eat only wild salmon. Not that I didn't already have enough reasons.

I've never liked the idea of hundreds of thousands of domesticated salmonidae mingling with the flora and fauna of our delicate underwater ecosystems. All that drug-laced excess food and salmon poop must mess things up a bit.

80% of farmed salmon aren't even native to British Columbia. They are Atlantic salmon. These are big bruisers that grow more quickly than BC salmon. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the total annual escape from BC pens, including chronic "leakage" of smaller fish (which is not reported), could exceed 50,000 fish, annually. No wonder Alaska doesn't allow fish farming.

Then, there are the sea lice. A University of Alberta research team reported "Sea lice production from the farm we studied was four orders of magnitude - 30,000 times - higher than natural. These lice then spread out around the farm". They latch onto passing salmon as they migrate. When salmon are badly infected, the sea lice eat the flesh of the fish faster than the fish can eat. The result is that they literally eat the salmon alive. I've seen salmon jumping out of the Harrison River like their pants are on fire. They seem to be trying to remove the sea lice by whacking their bodies against the water's surface.

I've heard that fish farms use chemical additives to change the color of the fish flesh. Presumably, they also use a lot of antibiotics and pesticides. Now, traces of a chemical suspected of causing cancer have been discovered in salmon at a BC fish farm. It called malachite green, a chemical once used as a fungicide in hatcheries. It has been banned from the food chain in Canada since 1992.

Sure, traces of a cancer-causing chemical in fish from only one farm shouldn't be cause for national hysteria. The thought of malachite green doesn't make me hungry though. I think I'll stick to wild salmon thanks.


TODAY'S HEADLINES

Police watchdog recommends audit of Vancouver force

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Police Department has come under fire from B.C.'s Police Complaint Commissioner.

Dirk Ryneveld says the department's handling of several complaints filed by the Pivot Legal Society is "troubling" and wants the solicitor general to conduct an audit of the department.

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