(NaturalNews) New pesticides are increasingly being introduced into Atlantic salmon farms, causing outrage among environmentalists and lobster fishers.
Widespread use of pesticides has rendered sea lice -- which infest farmed salmon due to their cramped living conditions -- immune to the most popular varieties, leading both U.S. and Canadian regulators to start approving new, more toxic poisons. Because lice are crustaceans, these poisons may be especially harsh on lobsters and other related sea life.
Indeed, lobster fishers and environmentalists have complained that AlphaMax (deltamethrin), a pesticide recently approved in Canada, has been causing the death of sea life. Although the salmon industry insists that AlphaMax is applied only in contained areas called well boats, recent research by Environment Canada shows that sea life may still be at risk.
The research exposed lobsters to sea water outside the range of an AlphaMax plume, to sea water directly within an AlphaMax plume, or to sea water just outside a pen where salmon treatment was taking place. A hundred percent of lobsters in the first and third test groups died.
"We have been told repeatedly by the aquaculture industry and by the Province of New Brunswick that pesticides are 'used up' by the time the tarps are released and the effluent is not harmful to marine life," said Sheena Young of the Fundy North Fishermen's Association.
Young noted that young lobsters, which are even more vulnerable to pesticides, are the most likely to float on the ocean surface near where AlphaMax treatment takes place.
Salmon farmers have also turned to illegal pesticides in their battle against sea lice, often disposing of leftover poison in coastal waters. In November, a Canadian salmon farm was raided by the government on suspicion of such practices after dead lobsters were discovered that had been poisoned with a non-approved pesticide.
Cypermethrin, the pesticide implicated in that case, has been approved for use in U.S. waters.