St. Andrews, NB – Fundy Baykeeper has just learned that the federal pesticide regulator has just granted approval for the use of pesticide deltamethrin, known by its trade name Alpha Max, to combat sea lice outbreaks on New Brunswick salmon farms. This approval comes despite concerns Environment Canada raised about deltamethrin last fall.
The approval concerns the Fundy Baykeeper. “The sea lice infestation plaguing the aquaculture industry only highlights the unsustainability of aquaculture as it is now practiced in New Brunswick,” said Matthew Abbott, Coordinator for Fundy Baykeeper. “Over-stocked cages and long term-use of pesticides have led to the current situation. Instead of addressing the root of the problem government seems content to simply approve more pesticides whenever the aquaculture industry has a sea lice outbreak” said Abbott.
Inka Milewski, Science Advisor with CCNB, said “If anyone else were to pour buckets of chemicals designed to kill crustaceans, including lobsters, into marine waters, the public would be outraged.” Milewski wonders “How does the aquaculture industry get away with this?”
“The pesticides being used by the aquaculture industry are threatening the multi-million dollar traditional fishing economy of coastal communities. Numerous scientific studies have found that, even at concentration below those recommended for treating sea lice, deltamethrin or Alpha Max is toxic to lobster larvae and other non-target crustaceans that are essential to maintaining the Bay’s food chain,” said Milewski.
Abbott points out that the use of pesticides on salmon farms is actually against the law. Section 32 of the Fisheries act states that “No person shall destroy fish by any means other than fishing,” and section 36 prohibits the deposit of “deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish.”
“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is, in effect, allowing the law to be broken under its watch. When the same government agencies try to both promote and regulate an industry this is what we get, disregard for the environment and practices that threaten the traditional fishing economy,” commented Abbott.
The Fundy Baykeeper is a program of the Conservation Council NB.