Salmon Coast has been monitoring the relationship between sea-lice, wild juvenile salmon
and salmon farms for over 20 years.

Our data represents the longest continuous data set in the world related to sea-lice levels on juvenile salmon near salmon farms, and has inspired other sea lice monitoring programs on the BC coast.

Over the years, findings from this study have been published in various peer-reviewed journals and have contributed to improved parasite management on farms. Ongoing monitoring has proven extremely valuable for capturing the efficacy of treatment protocols over time in the context of environmental change.

A recent Salmon Coast report revealed a dramatic decline in government-funded monitoring efforts, highlighting the important role of independent field stations like Salmon Coast. Our report also found that many of the same populations that are struggling have high levels of resilience (i.e. the ability to recover from a disturbance). This means that if stressors are removed – as we are seeing with the removal of salmon farms – wild salmon have a good chance for recovery. Our work in identifying the stressors through long-term data collection is critical in rebuilding wild salmon abundance and ecosystem resilience.

In 2023, due to the efforts of First Nations groups including the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, all salmon farms were removed from the Broughton Archipelago.

Our sea lice monitoring data have consistently shown a connection between open net salmon farms and disease and parasites in nearby wild juvenile salmon. Because of this link, years of protests were undertaken by the Nations. An agreement between three of the Nations and the Province of BC was reached that mandated the removal of ten farms by the end of 2022. The remaining farms were only allowed to stay with the consent of the Nations. In March of 2023, the three Nations decided to remove the final seven farms.

We are grateful to stand alongside our First Nations neighbors in the fight to protect wild salmon.

As the farms transition out, we will continue our monitoring and scientific work to gain a full picture of the impact these farms have on wild salmon.

In alignment with our commitment to open data, the full data-set is available online.

Find out more about our work by checking out our regular reports and related publications

Check out our sea lice reports for each year, which provide detailed information on the year’s monitoring findings.

View our complete list of publications for many more articles based on sea lice research conducted at Salmon Coast.

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