Target: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Ban chemical pesticides that are decimating salmon populations and harming ecosystems
Over the past 10 years, sea lice that affect salmon have developed an immunity to the pesticide emamectin benzoate, also known as SLICE, a chemical designed by humans to eliminate these parasites of food fish. Sea lice are believed to damage the immune systems of the salmon they feed on, increasing their susceptibility to disease. When farmed salmon ineffectively treated with SLICE are allowed to merge with wild salmon populations, the sea lice are transmitted about as readily as head lice are in human populations, diminishing the number of remaining healthy salmon as they spread.
Though sea lice have outsmarted chemical pesticides, environmentalists have begun to look at nature’s own means of keeping sea lice from overwhelming salmon populations. As is so frequently the case, mother nature was keeping sea lice and salmon numbers in balance before it ever occurred to humans to take drastic measures to destroy a ‘pest’ that actually plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Environmentalists are looking at two biological ‘pesticides’ in particular: lumpsuckers and bivalves. Lumpsuckers are small fish that harmlessly bite sea lice off of salmon’s bodies, while bivalves such as clams and mussels feed on sea lice larvae.
SLICE is known to have become far less effective since it was first applied to farmed salmon, and yet salmon farms in the U.S. and elsewhere continue to use ecosystem-damaging pesticides rather than biological and sustainable control methods. This is partly due to the comparative ease of feeding salmon with SLICE. Biological methods of sea lice prevention involve extra maintenance such as keeping nets clean and planting kelp to accommodate the additional creatures. However, these duties seem a small price to pay to save the salmon from the precipice of extinction.
Sign the petition below to ban SLICE in U.S. salmon farms and to encourage sustainable farming methods that rely on the simple, beautifully engineered means of pest control in the natural food chain.
Dear Gina McCarthy,
The Environmental Protection Agency’s current policy of allowing the use of the anti-sea lice chemical pesticide emamectin benzoate, more commonly known as SLICE, is resulting in the decimation of salmon populations worldwide.
In the 10 years that SLICE has been the go-to anti-sea lice pesticide, sea lice have developed a resistance to SLICE and are infecting farmed salmon on a regular basis, making these salmon more susceptible to disease. When farmed salmon mingle with wild salmon, the sea lice are spread as rapidly as head lice in human populations, decreasing wild salmon’s resistance to disease in turn and causing further salmon die-offs.
Salmon can ill afford further barriers to their survival, as in 1991 it was reported that 214 of the 400 total stocks of salmon were at risk of extinction, while 106 of the 400 were already extinct. I urge you to disallow U.S. salmon farms’ use of SLICE, as it is a purposeless threat to the natural ecosystem, and easily replaceable with biological sea lice prevention methods including the use of lumpsuckers and bivalves. These biological organisms consume sea lice without endangering the last of the world’s salmon, and may allow the seas and rivers to see their salmon return.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peteforsyth via Wikipedia