Sickly Salmon: Uncontrolled Lice Threaten Fish Industry
A surge in parasitic sea lice that attach themselves to and feed on salmon, killing or rendering them unsuitable for dinner tables, is disrupting salmon farms in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Norway and Chile. Wholesale prices for the species have already increased 50 percent over last year, leading to higher consumer prices for everything from salmon fillets and steaks to more expensive lox on bagels. Scientists and fish farmers are working on new ways to control the pests. Fish Farmer magazine states that losses by the global aquaculture industry could be as high as $1 billion annually. The only hope is to develop new methods to control the spread of the lice, which are naturally present in the wild, but thrive in the tightly packed ocean pens used for fish farming.
This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.