Eleven fish farms shut down for two months

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2003

KODIAK (AP) -- Eleven fish farms off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia have shut down for two months, according to Canadian officials.

The move is intended to protect wild salmon smolt returning to the sea and is voluntary, said John Pringle, a manager in Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He said the closure represents almost half of the fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago.

A recent press release by the Canadian agency said anecdotal evidence suggests that pink salmon declines in the archipelago may be linked to sea lice infestations associated with salmon farms.

''This is an extremely important issue,'' Pringle said Tuesday. ''We are stepping up research in an attempt to better understand the relationship between salmon farms and wild stocks.''

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