articles and media

The public face of BAMP was launched in early November 2011. However, it always takes some time for research outputs to be generated. These more substative peer-reviewed paper became to be published in early 2013. As the research activities of BAMP proceed and further results are reported and commented on, this area of the site will be used to capture links to these reports.


A decade of scientific study on sea lice in BC summarised (July, 2013)

This month a landmark article summarising results around the monitoring of sea lice in the Broughton Archipelago has been published. This monitoring was carried out, in parallel, by teams under the direction of Martin Krkošek (now at the University of Toronto) and Brent Hargreaves/Simon Jones (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) between 2003 and 2009. The work was then integrated and continued as part of the BAMP initiative, as reported elsewhere on this web site. For the first time these three sets of data, covering an entire decade of careful scientific study, have been brought together and key trends/associations explored.

"It has been fascinating, if at times challenging, to work with this extensive data set. I feel privileged to have been able to bring together the results from such a dedicated group of researchers", said the lead author Thitiwan Patanasatienkul, of the University of Prince Edward Island.

One of the interesting observations is that while the prevalence of sea lice on both of the main wild species studied, pink and chum salmon, appear to follow broadly similar annual patterns, there are also subtle differences in the two fish species’ relationship to this natural parasite, particularly as the wild hosts grow over the season.

"The presence of significant levels of spatial clustering that were observed for all wild salmon sampled in these studies indicates the need to better understand the dynamics involved", said co-author Dr. Martin Krkošek, a professor at the University of Toronto.

"This work contributes to our understanding of sea lice ecology in coastal BC, and emphasises the value of collaborative research in studying salmon health in coastal ecosystems" said co-author Dr. Simon Jones, a scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

This paper is an outcome of BAMP’s collaborative research activity which involves active participation of academics, aquaculture companies, DFO and conservation organizations.

Dr. Crawford Revie, who acts as the BAMP science coordinator noted, "it is hoped that this summary paper will be the first in a number of epidemiological studies that provide novel insights from this unique data set; in some ways this paper raises as many questions as it answers and it has challenged BAMP team members to extend their research efforts".

The study was published in July 2013 in Diseases of Aqautic Organisms and can be accessed via http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/dao/v105/n2/p149-161/

Media links about the article/publication above:


New collaboration finds opportunities for wild salmon conservation (April, 2013)

A new research article has identified that careful timing of sea lice control on salmon farms reduces parasite loads when wild juvenile salmon are nearby. The multi-disciplinary team of academics, government scientists, and aquaculture veterinarians analyzed seven years of data from salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia (BC), an area made famous for sea lice controversy several years ago.

"We found that using the parasiticide treatment SLICE® in January or early February is the most effective time to reduce sea lice on farmed salmon when wild juvenile salmon are migrating", said the lead author Luke Rogers, of the University of Toronto.

The spread of sea lice from farmed salmon has been thought to affect wild pink and coho salmon populations in the area, raising management and conservation concerns. By identifying a common goal of healthy salmon—farmed and wild—this study breaks new ground in the often-divisive literature of farmed salmon–wild salmon interactions in BC.

"British Columbia is fortunate that SLICE® has remained effective. Sea lice in Europe and New Brunswick are showing signs of resistance to SLICE®", said co-author Dr. Martin Krkošek, a professor at the University of Toronto.

The collaborative study was organized through the Broughton Archipelago Monitoring Program (BAMP), a collaboration between aquaculture companies, conservation organizations, DFO, and academics.

“After three years of hard work and a developing sense of trust and shared concerns, it is encouraging to see such tangible evidence of progress”, noted Prof. Crawford Revie of the Atlantic Veterinary College, who acts as the BAMP science coordinator.

The study was published in April 2013 in PLoS ONE and can be accessed via http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0060096

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Fishy Bedfellows (Crawford Revie*)

(This short op-ed style piece was written by Dave Atkinson of UPEI in April 2011 with the BAMP Science Team Manager to outline the background to BAMP.)

While the debate about salmon farming continues to rage in the media and at water coolers across BC, something very unusual has been happening behind the scenes.

Quietly and without fanfare, an utterly unprecedented collaborative research project has begun; a research project involving some very strange and unexpected bedfellows. Initiated by the biggest salmon farming company in the world, Marine Harvest, and the five environmental groups comprising the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), the Broughton Area Monitoring Plan has brought together co-sponsors and scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the three largest salmon farming operators in BC (Marine Harvest Canada, Mainstream Canada and Grieg Seafood) and academic researcher Dr. Martin Krkosek. As a professor of Epidemiology with the University of Prince Edward Island, I have been contracted by the parties to guide and oversee the program.

After months of negotiation, all parties have signed a formal data-sharing agreement and in the spring of 2010 began a collaborative field monitoring and research project. The work is designed to assess sea lice levels on juvenile wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, evaluate the effectiveness of farm management measures, analyze historical scientific data from all sources and eventually use modelling to better predict and manage sea lice transmission.

It may sound like just another wonky science project to the lay person, but to anyone embroiled in the “my science/your science” debate raging for years around net-cage farming, sea lice infestation, data access and the sustainability of wild salmon, the Broughton Area Monitoring Plan or “BAMP” is a huge breakthrough.

As the BAMP moves forward, Mainstream, Grieg and Marine Harvest are sharing their on-farm data. Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists are contributing their extensive information resources. Dr. Krkosek is subjecting his modelling and analysis to scrutiny by the BAMP team. Representatives of CAAR are joining salmon farm employees on field teams. All parties are actively engaging and cooperating to devise the most rigorous and sound methods for sampling wild salmon, assessing lice levels, analyzing the possible links to on-farm lice outbreaks and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and management measures.

The scientists have been working hard to ensure both accuracy and unbiased fairness within the program. Methods and locations to undertake lice sampling were agreed prior to the start of monitoring the juvenile wild salmon out-migration and incorporated the best of both DFO’s and Dr. Krkosek’s previous methodologies. In 2010, wild salmon samples taken in the field were randomly divided in half and sent to two different laboratories for assessment. Quality assurance protocols were developed for the labs and agreed by all parties. Assessment data were audited on a real time basis. Field teams were a mixture of researchers affiliated with the salmon farming companies, DFO and CAAR member groups.

The next step is building a shared data base that will incorporate recent and historic wild and farmed salmon data. Then the team will begin a complex series of analyses and modeling, assessing trends and patterns between areas within the Broughton Archipelago and through time. Eventually, this unprecedented undertaking should lead to some shared, published conclusions and recommendations around steps that may be taken to mitigate or eliminate risks to B.C.’s wild juvenile salmon.

For anyone outside the process, science can seem frustratingly slow. We all want answers to the challenges facing our oceans, our communities and our businesses; and we want them now. The BAMP - this collaborative research effort to bring the best minds and most extensive data sets together in a single initiative - provides an unprecedented opportunity to find answers that all concerned parties can and will accept as unbiased, unvarnished and meaningful.

 

* Dr. Crawford Revie holds a Canada Research Chair, is a professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI and acts as Science Team Manager for the Broughton Archipelago Monitoring Plan.

photo by Lance Stewardson

photo by Brent Hargreaves.