Resource: Sea Lice and Salmon: Elevating the dialogue on the farmed-wild salmon story

Filed In: . Posted by Trish Hall on

Authors / Publisher: Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Date: 2004

PDF: Sea Lice and Salmon: Elevating the dialogue on the farmed-wild salmon story


Watershed Watch, a science-based salmon conservation organization, spends much of its time “elevating the dialogue.” Lately, Watershed Watch’s efforts have focused on the connection between salmon farms and lice infestations of wild juvenile salmon. The “sea lice story” has resonated now for months—in meetings, on riverbanks, in the media, in scientific papers and workshops, and with an increasingly-concerned public.

Watershed Watch believes that the sustainable future of salmon hinges on the public being properly informed. Accordingly, Watershed Watch has produced ‘fact sheets’ that deal directly with questions concerning sea lice and salmon: What is a sea louse? How do lice harm fish? How many eggs do lice lay? How long do lice live? What’s being done to deal with the lice threat?

Watershed Watch also recognizes that there is a bigger story—one involving other aquaculture and wild salmon issues and players—that needs to be told in order to provide the necessary context for the information on sea lice. Though the essays are science-based, they are written in lay language. Watershed Watch hopes they elevate the dialogue and improve our collective understanding of what is required to ensure that this modern story has a happy ending—for both wild salmon, and people.


This overview was produced by Watershed Watch with the help of several researchers and supporters. Special thanks to analyst Karen Leslie for primary research and writing, Trish Hall for overseeing the project, Peter Broomhall for his editing, rewriting, and making helpful suggestions, and several reviewers for valuable observations and input. Thanks also to Alexandra Morton, Living Oceans Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Maple Leaf Adventures, Thomas Schram, and Peter Bromley (for photos and maps). Financial support for the research, preparation and publication of these fact sheets was provided by the Vancouver Foundation, Tides Canada, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Patrick Hodgson Family Foundation, the BC Federation of Fly Fishers, and the Osprey Fly Fishers.