Fry Research Update

From Ana,
Ana has spent the last two weeks volunteering at Echo Bay.

 A quick report on Sealice Season 2009 taking place in Echo Bay,
Broughton Archipelago…

 As you can imagine, it is too early in the season and we are far
 from being able to give a final verdict, but things are looking
 pretty normal right now. The spring has come late to the Broughton,
 and the fry have only recently come out of the rivers and are now
 moving along the shoreline. After a minor hiccup with the permit
 from DFO coming late, we were catching schools of thousands of fry
 (pink and chum) at a time. Most of them were 35 to 38mm long/4 to
 6mm wide, and some of them were still “unzipped” (belly still open
 with part of the yolk sack showing). They looked pretty good and
 healthy; only 5% of them (or less) had lice (which is nothing
 abnormal). It was funny to see how they change color while you keep
 them in the buckets, trying to blend in with the environment. Then,
 when you release them back into the water, exactly in the same spot
 as you found them, they look almost completely white for a few
 seconds.

 We will have to wait and see how the season progresses, and watch
closely for the results of the strategy applied by the salmon
 farming industry this year – some corridors have been fallowed
 (meaning that some farms are closed, no fish at all in them) while
 the rest have been treating their fish with Slice. It is known that
 Slice is effective in eliminating the lice; however, as you know,
 there are great concerns that this drug can also have a disastrous
 impact on the surrounding environment (for instance, sealice are
 crustaceans, so there is good reason to believe that Slice, the
 drug designed to kill them, can harm other crustaceans too).

 Researchers at the Salmon Coast Field Station in Echo Bay are busy

 with several projects; Martin Krkosek will once more spend the
season taking a close look at lice numbers on the fry as they
travel their migration routes, while Amy McConnell is studying how
 night lights at the farms attract wild species to the nets (and
 they often end up as prey for farmed salmon), and Ashley Park is
 working on the impact of Slice (the parasite-killing drug) on
 species like prawns. Alexandra Morton comes and goes, as meetings,
talks, and media engagements, among many other things, keep her

busy. She kept telling me how impressed and happy she was with her
 visit to Squamish and the way she was received – she sends her
 thanks and warmth to all of us once again.

I will be getting updates from the field station every once in a
 while. I will let you know how things go as and when.

 Ana

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