A British Columbian monument is on the brink of extinction and it appears humans may be the catalyst for the acceleration of the evolutionary process yet again. According to researches from the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University and the Salmon Coast Field Station in Echo Bay, BC, infestations of the parasitic sea lice are contaminating salmon fish farms and proving fatal to wild stocks. It’s predicted wild pink salmon will be reduced to 99% of their present population in just four salmon generations or approx 8 years! The crustaceans attach themselves to the exterior of the salmon feeding on tissues, blood, and muscle; eventually resulting in death. Not surprisingly, juvenile populations are at most risk.
This bleak picture is a staggering realization of humans ever growing foot print. The bottle neck effect that these salmon farms could create will have devastating effects on the genetic diversity of local populations. And the most shocking angle of this study is it’s noted as an avoidable catastrophe.
Implementing legislation that will move farms from migration routes and replacing net pens with closed containment compounds will clean up the surrounding aquatic environment and ensure any parasitic threats are isolated from wild stocks. This, of course, comes at a price and owners are not keen on watching profits diminish and operating costs increase. It appears the moral line between profit, government and the environment continues to blur.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Posted by Kim Harrer at 11:20 PM