Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Apparently hairy mammals are not the only ones that fear the words “louse” and “lice.” Sea lice, the insidious parasite that infects adult salmon, is leaving many salmon farmers in the Broughton Archipelago northwest of Vancouver, BC scratching their heads.
In a report released last month in the Journal of Science, lice that flourishes on salmon farms is infesting juvenile wild salmon as they journey out to sea. The problem is pretty simple actually. Sea lice usually only infects salmon out at sea and dies off as adult fish make their way into fresh water where the lice cannot survive. Juvenile salmon are protected from contact with lice until they are out at sea where they are bigger and stronger. The large farms close to river mouths are exposing the juveniles to lice when they are too small to survive an infestation and wild populations are declining rapidly as a result.