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“Time is quickly running out” for wild Atlantic salmon on the Conne River if reforms are not made to the local aquaculture industry.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation has issued that warning in light of startling new numbers from DFO that show Atlantic salmon at near local extinction on two rivers on the province’s south coast.
While open net pens are commonly used on the province’s south coast, the controversial salmon farming practice has been abandoned for closed containment in many other jurisdictions, including British Columbia.
The ASF’s Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador, Don Ivany, says the degree of hybridization between wild salmon and farmed salmon escapes in 17 rivers on the province’s south coast is up 30 per cent according to recent DFO science.
Add to that sea lice infestations, bacterial infections and outbreaks of Infectious Salmon Anaemia, it’s no surprise Atlantic salmon are suffering. Ivany says viruses and other infections can enter the water column and affect fish as far as 50 miles away.
In the meantime, Ivany says gene banking may be necessary to help preserve the species on the south coast. He says it’s time closed containment practices be adopted in Newfoundland and Labrador’s aquaculture industry before it’s too late.