Large paper cutouts that look like sea lice are pasted to John Horgan's office window. There are so many they almost completely obscure the window.
Photo Credit: Watershed Watch

Is This What Wild Salmon Feel Like?

Parasites are gross on windows, grosser on live salmon

Sea lice from factory fish farms are infecting wild salmon, and folks are pissed about it

Sea lice have started appearing on office windows. No, not actual sea lice. Giant, paper sea lice. And somehow, they’re just as gross as the real thing.

Factory fish farms are hotbeds for sea lice. Taking factory fish farms out of the path of wild salmon means young salmon get to swim in cleaner waters when they migrate to saltwater. That’s especially important for juvenile salmon that are too small to fend off the blood-sucking creatures.

It’s not enough to try to kill the sea lice in the farms. During salmon migration, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says fish farms can only have an average of 3 lice per fish in their nets. But farms go over this limit all the time. And all those dead lice from the farms have to go somewhere.

There’s evidence that shutting down factory fish farms brings down the number of lice on wild salmon. Juvenile salmon have a better chance at life if they’re not covered in parasites.

About 75% of British Columbians favour phasing out factory fish farms. But governments have been pretty slow to follow through on this.

Folks who live in John Horgan’s riding have had enough, apparently. They don’t want open-net fish farms around Vancouver Island, so they showed up and plastered a bunch of sea lice to Horgan’s office window.

Looking through his window must be what it’s like to swim next to a fish farm. But why go after Horgan?

Maybe it’s because of that pathetic letter he wrote to the federal government asking them to think about the few First Nations who support factory fish farms. What about the 102 First Nations who don’t?

Horgan wasn’t the only politician that faced a sea lice outbreak. Patrick Weiler is the Liberal MP in Horseshoe Bay. So folks redecorated his window the other day. Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s windows also got special treatment.

Concerned locals with a bone to pick about fish farms plan to plaster lice to a few other windows in the coming weeks. Just to get their message across.

Want to tell your leaders to protect wild salmon and phase out the fish farms? Go to Watershed Watch’s June 22 Do Not Renew page and write your MP a strongly worded letter.

How very Canadian.

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