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Monday, July 22, 2019

Canada plans airlifting of trapped Salmons

Heard of ‘anadromous’ - it is fish spends most of its life in the sea and returns to fresh water to spawn.

‘Salmon’ is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Other fish in the same family include trout, char, grayling and whitefish. Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Many species of salmon have been introduced into non-native environments such as the Great Lakes of North America and Patagonia in South America. Salmon are intensively produced in aquaculture in many parts of the world.  Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce.
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The news is : Tens of thousands of migrating salmon stuck behind a rock slide on the Fraser River in a remote part of British Columbia will be flown over the barrier by helicopter !  ~  the solution was made public  by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government after weeks of speculation over how to help the trapped fish.  In late June, officials discovered a landslide had partially blocked the Fraser River west of Clinton, B.C., and created a waterfall that was preventing thousands of salmon from getting upstream to spawn.

First Nations, conservationists, fishers, officials and others are all worried that if the fish can't get upstream there could be a permanent loss of Chinook salmon populations. The federal government will now  implement a maximum size of chinook salmon to be caught by recreational fishers in an effort to help the thousands of fish blocked at a landslide in B.C.  The federal government estimates around 2,000 fish are arriving at the barrier everyday, with that number to increase in coming weeks. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says only a small proportion are getting through the barrier.  On Friday afternoon, the agency announced a measure to try and help keep as many chinook salmon in the river as possible. Marine recreational fisheries are set to open July 15 for chinook salmon. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is placing a size restriction of 80 centimetres on fish that can be caught until at least July 31.

Elsewhere,  land-based salmon farming company, Pure Salmon, has announced a new 20,000 tonnes RAS facility in Africa. Located in the Butha-Buthe Highland region of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the $250 million state-of-the-art farm will be developed in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and is predicted to have annual revenues accounting for 8 percent of the country’s GDP.   Salmon has become the guinea pig of the seas when it comes to using technology to supplement falling fish populations. Now it’s moved onto land — and into the laboratory. The fatty orange fish was the second-most-consumed seafood in the United States, after shrimp.  Globally, demand for salmon has skyrocketed, along with that for all fish, fueling overfishing and threatening the supply.

Industrial-scale salmon farming, once seen as a solution, has its own problems. Massive stocks of smaller fish are depleted to feed farmed salmon, and parasites flourish in salmon pens, where farmers use pesticides, contributing to pollution and ecosystem destruction. Sea lice have infested farms in Norway and Scotland in recent years, and a deadly algal bloom killed salmon in Chile, a top farmed-salmon producer. Farmed fish sometimes escape, too, contaminating nearby wild salmon.

The move toward environmentally conscious salmon farming is already underway. Maynard, Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies is hoping its genetically modified “AquAdvantage” version of Atlantic salmon, which it says grows twice as fast, will soon appear in the shopping carts of the environmentally aware. The company says on its website that its product is raised in “land-based production systems” that eliminate the various risks farmed salmon pose to wild fish, humans and the environment. But the next chapter of fish production, beyond even land-based farming, is already being written — by scientists. San Francisco-based Wild Type is hoping that, as with the rise of meat substitutes (and their arrival on Wall Street), lab-grown fish won’t be far behind.

Back to Canada, thousands of Canadian salmon are going to be airlifted to safety after getting trapped by a landslide. Rescuers have spent weeks devising a plan to fly the fish by helicopter to a spot on the other side of the rockfall. Conservationists warn the fish need to be able to lay their eggs, or the local salmon population will be at risk.  Crews are now constructing a holding pond for the salmon. The fish will then be transferred from the pond into 780-2,700 litre tanks, before a helicopter moves them away from the landslide.  The water in the tanks will be oxygenated, to help keep the fish calm.  While the holding pond is being built, workers are tagging the salmon in order to track their journey afterwards.  Crews have also tried to move larger rocks around to make it a bit easier for the fish to pass through themselves, as well as to remove rocks from the nearby cliff face that could prove dangerous for the people working there.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd July 2019.

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