Sea lice become resistant to pesticide on salmon farms

This story told by my fellow blogger eivindburkow at The Coastal House is well worth a look. It’s about pesticide resistance on Scottish salmon farms.

Organisms do evolve when we attack them with chemical coshes. In the sheep industry, worms fight back with resistance to anthelmintics. Human pathogens fight back with microbial resistance. These are just a few of the important examples.

Now it’s no surprise that sea lice fight back too. But when they fight back in a marine farm, the chemical cosh can affect wildlife and game. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) says this about environmental impacts of fish farming. But I see no mention there of pesticide resistance.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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14 Responses to Sea lice become resistant to pesticide on salmon farms

  1. Pingback: Canadian salmon virus scandal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. I am not sure where I stand regarding fish farming, whilst I do not think our current fishing methods are sustainable, I am also not sure that the way we currently farm fish is very good for the environment either.

    On the other blog (Coastal House), it was this which worried me most
    “Sepa confirmed it had done no studies of the overall impact of these chemicals on the wider marine environment, or investigated whether the sharp increase was justified.

    It insisted, however, that any adverse impacts from these chemicals were very localised and were very quickly dispersed in the sea. Sepa said it had a “robust” system of monitoring and enforcement to ensure breaches were minimal.”

    If there have been no studies of the overall impact, how can they claim that the adverse effects are localised?

    One of the problems with marine organisms is that, unlike many terrestrial organisms, the range that an organism can cover is huge, so any chemicals which enter the food chain etc are able to travel far greater distances in a small time period.

    • argylesock says:

      Yes I have similar thoughts. The Scottish salmon farming industry has grown so fast. Too fast? Without sufficient care about its impacts? I mentioned this in a previous post https://argylesock.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/salmon-farming-on-land/

      I’m open to learning. The Coastal House is my main source of fish news so I’ll keep linking to anything that catches my attention there, or elsewhere, about fisheries and fish farming.

    • Anthropogen says:

      You may be interested in reading a recently published book called Four Fish, by Paul Greenberg. The book explores some of the upsides and downsides of fish farming, and the future of fish, wild and farmed.

      • argylesock says:

        Thanks for mentioning this book. Have you by any chance written a review about it? If so I’d like to see the review.

      • Anthropogen says:

        I haven’t written a review. Although I have pondered getting into writing reviews of books, or at least providing lists of books I would recommend. An interesting side note, however, is that the chapter on Mediterranean Sea Bass in Four Fish largely focuses on my father-in-law (his fish farming methods presented as an example of positive approach to organic fish farming).

        • argylesock says:

          I hope you do start reviewing books. In fact, you’ve just given me a new idea to follow up. This blog is one of my first forays into popsci and I’m liking it.

          You must be proud of your father-in-law, I think.

        • argylesock says:

          Inspired by your FiL I’ve just googled my great-uncle who turns out to have been quite well-known as a geographer!

          While looking at your blog I see that you have an advert for The Woodland Trust. How did you make that happen? I already have that org in my Links list but now I wonder whether they pay you for the advert. Also whether they reciprocate by linking to your blog from their website.

  3. Anthropogen says:

    Along a similar vein, here are a few articles I published a while back on Superweeds, “unwanted plants that have developed a resistance to round-up, herbicides, and the like… http://anthropogen.com/?s=superweeds

  4. Anthropogen says:

    correction, i didn’t publish the articles, i merely posted them (provided links to them).

    • argylesock says:

      Oh, I see. As you may have noticed I put a lot of links in my blog too. I’m quite happy for people to glance at a brief post from me then make their own choices about whether to follow my links.
      The superweeds story is indeed v interesting. Superbugs, too. Both of these are on my to-blog list.

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