Research Projects

Photo: Stan Proboszcz

As part of the collaborative relationship with the salmon farming industry, the CAAR Science Committee has developed Terms of Reference with industry to refine pertinent research topics surrounding the negative effects of sea lice on wild juvenile salmon and possible solutions. Literature reviews were conducted to further inform research project development. The CAAR Science Committee continues to collaborate with industry to push their acknowledgement of the existing body of scientific evidence around sea lice. Despite CAAR’s continuing perseverance, Marine Harvest Canada has not followed through with any meaningful collaborative research to date.

In the spring 2007 CAAR initiated sea lice monitoring projects with the Xwemalhkwu First Nation of Georgia/Johnstone Strait, and Heiltsuk First Nation of the central coast to support community involvement in a biological monitoring program.

The Xwemalhkwu study consisted of 13 sampling sites (near and far from active salmon farms) where juvenile salmonids were collected over four rounds between mid-April and mid-June, 2007. Initial findings show that lice were consistently found on juveniles near farms.

Read the Discovery Islands Community Sea Lice Monitoring: 2007 Report Findings, prepared by Michael Price, Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

The Heiltsuk Sea Lice Monitoring Program is a joint initiative between the Heiltsuk Nation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Simon Fraser University. This collaborative study consisted of 14 sites (all in non-salmon farm areas) where juveniles were collected from all sites once per week between mid-April and mid-June, 2007. Results showed approximately 4% of juveniles were infected with lice (extremely low levels). Raincoast and the Heiltsuk First Nation are continuing both studies in 2008, with an additional study planned for the Klemtu area north of Bella Bella. This latter study will compare sea lice levels near and away from active salmon farms.

Read the report, Heiltsuk Sea Lice Monitoring Program, August 2007.