(Photo: Ellie Kinley; Two of the thousands of escaped salmon recovered by fishers in WA State)
The escape of to ~200,000 adult farm Atlantic salmon from a Victoria area farm in the US Gulf Islands has prompted significant public interest in the issue of escaped farm salmon and their potential impact on wild Pacific salmon and the broader Pacific ecosystem. Below I have posted the research products of my lab for those interested in learning more.
While focus remains on diagnosing the implications of escape events such as this, the larger and ultimately more helpful question is: Why are open net pen farms still endangering our oceans? Technology developed here on Vancouver Island and employed around the world has demonstrated the utility and financial viability of land based farms that virtually eliminate every environmental issue associated with old-tech open net pens. Therefore for what reason does our marine commons remain in jeopardy?
Click on the image to download the PDF or go to the page
Super un-Natural BC: Atlantic Salmon in Pacific waters A report that summarizes the history and science of Atlantic salmon in BC. It is remarkable how little we have learned since this publication...such is the chill that falls over research that has the potential to be politically challenging.
Fish Farms and Neoliberalism: Salmon aquaculture in British Columbia A book chapter that deals with the broader challenges of salmon farms in BC.
A description of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon captures and their characteristics in one Pacific salmon fishery area in BC, Canada, 2000 A demonstration that passive surveys yield false information by greatly underestimating the number of recovered escapees. This same flawed system remains in use to this day.
Reproduction of Aquaculture Atlantic salmon in a controlled stream channel on Vancouver Island, British Columbia The first test of if farm Atlantic salmon would spawn if given the opportunity. Like so much of this work, it only served to confirm what everybody expected...
Evidence of natural reproduction of aquaculture-escaped Atlantic salmon in a coastal British Columbia river The first documentation of successful reproduction of farm-escaped Atlantic salmon in BC.
Competition among juvenile Atlantic salmon and steelhead: Relevance to invasion potential in British Columbia First examination of the competitive fitness of juvenile Atlantics against their niche-equivalent, steelhead. Provides the reasoning for why the failure of historical introductions of Atlantics bear little relevance to the current situation.
Occupancy dynamics of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon in Canadian Pacific coastal salmon streams: Implications for sustained invasions A reworking of my original surveys of VI rivers from the late 1990s-2000s using cutting edge modelling techniques to address the likelihood that cryptic invasions have already occurred
Response to attempted green-washing of industrial aquaculture An example of the myriad attempts by industry apologists to cherry pick data in an attempt to deflect attention away from the unavoidable root of the issue: all industrial scale aquaculture's many issues can be trace back to the flawed vision that ecologically expensive species can be farmed in great numbers cheaply.
Fugitive Salmon: Assessing the risks of escaped fish from net-pen aquaculture A global assessment of the risks associated net pens
Dr. John P. Volpe, PhD School of Environmental Studies, University House 4 University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8S 2Y2 +1.250.472.4298 | jpv at uvic dot ca