Monthly Archives: November 2010

Closed containment press release seen as a joke.

A report on closed containment fish farming was released this past week by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The report looked at the financial viability of several ways to grow salmon, which included land based tanks, ocean net pens and ocean solid walled systems. Land tanks shows a marginal return on investment after 3 years (4%) and ocean net pens returned 52%. All other options failed to return a profit. The government then, and rightly so, recommends a land based system (Recirculating Aquaculture System, RAS) pilot project to see if the estimated financial returns are accurate or can be improved.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), came quickly out of the gate with a press release entitled “DFO study confirms viability of closed containment technology for salmon aquaculture”. (note-the CAAR release does not link to the DFO report). We’re not sure if they actually read the study? Cause that ain’t what it said at all. It said 4% return. Maybe that’s why none of these wingnuts have made it in the real world of business.

CAAR was hoping journalists would just take their word for it and not actually read the study. Thankfully, respected journalists are becoming all too aware of the games played by CAAR and their U.S. Foundation friends.

Scott Simpson at the Vancouver Sun did pick up the story and wrote this reasonable article: “Fisheries department recommends salmon aquaculture pilot project.”

Yep, that’s accurate.

But then Scott must have read a little further and the next day reported, “Open salmon pens more profitable”.

Yep, even more accurate.

For comparison sake, the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) released a statement about the DFO study as well: “Some answers, more questions for closed containment”.  And note-it did link to the DFO study.

John Reynolds and his fishy sea lice science

Yet another study attempting to link sea lice from salmon farms to the demise of wild fish is making the rounds this week.

What we have here is a deliberate failure to communicate. When you look closely, the authors make their data say all sorts of things that it doesn’t really support. And at the end of the day, they are repeating the same tired old unproven mantra (“there are lots of sea lice on fish around salmon farms, therefore they are coming from salmon farms, therefore we must put all salmon farms on land.”)

Any Logic 101 student could point out the flaws in that argument. Correlation does not equal causation.

There are always other factors at play, and this study goes out of its way to ignore them, making its conclusions worthless.

This study is science hijacked to try and prove someone’s pet theory. We’ve seen it before, and it’s getting old.

There are too many examples to keep you interested in reading, but here’s one clear example of manipulating data to fit one’s theory;

John Reynolds (one of the study’s authors) spoke today to CBC radio. He stated that one area of study, known as Discovery Islands, had only the slightest difference between the number of sea lice found on juvenile wild salmon near (“exposed”) and away (“background”) from salmon farms. This is in an area with a (relatively) high number of salmon farms. So this is good news, right?

Not if you can make your own rules. Mr. Reynolds actually said that this is the “worst” area in the study, and here’s how he justifies it;

He concludes that the background data (those fish tested far from farms and representing natural sea lice levels) isn’t really background after all:

“there are so many farms there, that it appears that the whole region has got a higher background level.” (Reynolds, CBC Almanac, November 9, 2010).

John, are you kidding? You’re making this up as you go along.

Kidding? Unfortunately, for all you real scientists out there, he’s not. So much for “peer” reviewed.

Oh, and one last important point. All fish sampled in the study were much larger than the known size of fish that may be at risk to sea lice induced mortality. That’s kind of important to know…


Attachment Size
John Reynolds (SFU)_sea lice, CBC, Nov. 9_2010.doc 34 KB

Missing citations

Submitted by Robert wager (not verified) on November 10, 2010 – 17:22.

Dr. Reynolds

Can you please explain to me how your article on sea lice and fish farms failed to mention or cite two very relevant research papers that directly counter your thesis.  Infection threshold to estimate Lepeophtheirus salmonis-associated mortality among juvenile pink salmon 2009 by Jones and Hargreaves and

A large, natural infection of sea lice on juvenile Pacific salmon in the Gulf Islands area of British Columbia, Canada 2009  by Beamish et al

Clearly these two peer reviewed papers have direct relation to your paper.

Robert Wager

Vancouver Island Unviversity

Dr. Reynolds

Submitted by Robert Wager (not verified) on December 22, 2010 – 15:24.

I hope your marking is over and you can now answer my question.

Robert Wager