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Fish Farming Wiping Out Wild Salmon

Sea lice could doom some species to extinction, study says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 11:01 PM CST
Fish Farming Wiping Out Wild Salmon
Leaping Pink Salmon. A massive decline in wild salmon species is blamed on the billions of sea lice coming from fish farms.   (Earth Explorer)

(Newser) – Fish farming could drive some species of wild salmon to extinction, a new study says. Canadian researchers found a direct connection between the growth of such farms in British Columbia and a sharp drop in wild salmon nearby, the Washington Post reports. They attribute the problem to deadly sea lice that thrives in the farms, then spreads to wild salmon that swim by the netted cage. 

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"The wild population is dropping so fast that there isn't much time left to act," the study's lead author said. Sea lice breed by the billion in open-sea farms, then attack vulnerable young wild salmon migrating to rivers. The study, published in Science, found rivers normally full of salmon to be empty, with starving bears on their banks. (Read more salmon stories.)

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