New online animation vividly illustrates sea lice threat from salmon farms

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2008

Vancouver, BC – “Wild Salmon In Trouble” (www.watershed-, a new short animation released today online, takes viewers on a provocative tour of how salmon farming and sea lice are harming wild salmon. Watershed Watch Salmon Society produced the short video to increase public understanding of salmon ecology and interactions with sea lice on wild and farmed salmon, and to help bridge the gap between technical science and an understandable depiction of what can often be a complicated issue. Though the weight of scientific evidence shows that open-net cage salmon farming poses a grave threat to wild salmon in Canada and other salmon farming nations, this smorgasbord of science is not always easily obtained or digested. The new Watershed Watch animation helps the public understand why farms and lice threaten wild salmon, and urges the public to act. This animation comes in light of the numerous published studies which show wild salmon are impacted by sea lice from salmon farms—one such study published recently in the prestigious journal Science predicts that some wild salmon populations are expected to become extinct within four years due to sea lice from salmon farms.

“Although many people know that sea lice from farms pose a serious threat to wild salmon, there’s a clear public appetite to learn more about the nature of the interactions linking farmed salmon, sea lice and wild salmon,” said Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch’s fisheries biologist and animation project manager. “Wild Salmon in Trouble depicts the salmon life cycle and shows how farmed salmon produce vast numbers of lice that infect migrating juvenile salmon—an unnatural and unsustainable situation,” Proboszcz continued.

Wild Salmon in Trouble is illustrated from the perspective of migrating wild salmon before and after the introduction of salmon farming. It highlights the fact that even low numbers of sea lice on individual farm salmon can still mean prodigious numbers of sea lice being released into the nursery grounds of wild salmon. The animation, about 6 minutes long, is based on published, peer-reviewed scientific research, and foreshadows an unknown but troubling future for coastal ecosystems and communities—unless something meaningful is done soon to protect wild salmon from farm-derived sea lice.

“After viewing Wild Salmon in Trouble we hope people will have a better understanding of sea lice dynamics, and will be better informed and better able to help wild salmon,” said Watershed Watch’s executive director, Craig Orr. “We urge the public to watch the film and share the internet link with others in an effort to raise awareness so that we may collectively reverse the situation.”

The animation is hosted on the Watershed Watch Salmon Society website at, where viewers can also find background information on sea lice and salmon farming, as well as ways they can help wild salmon. Watershed Watch produced the animation with advice and support from the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, and additional help from the Patrick Hodgson Family Foundation. Nearly 20 prominent environmental organizations from North America and Europe have agreed to help distribute the animation.


For more information or details on helping to distribute the film, please contact:

Stan Proboszcz, M.Sc.- Biologist, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, (604) 253-3393, cell (604) 314-2713

Dr. Craig Orr- Executive Director, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, (604) 936-9474, cell (604) 809-2799