Sea lice in salmon poses no health risk: aquaculture expert

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on October 19, 2012

A anti fish farming activist’s campaign that coaxed Sobeys to pull whole Atlantic salmon from its stores in response to concerns over sea lice is an unjustified scare tactic, says an expert in fish health.

Alexandra Morton launched a campaign to get salmon pulled from store shelves.

Morton started buying whole salmon at local grocery stores across the Maritimes and posting images of what she says are salmon infected with sea lice.

CBC reported that when an image was posted to Sobeys Facebook page on Wednesday, the company responded by removing all whole salmon from all 84 of its Maritime stores.

Sobeys spokeswoman Cynthia Thompson says its move was a proactive measure while Sobeys investigates.

Larry Hammell, a professor of aquaculture health management at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, says the action was not necessary.

“There is absolutely no human health concern associated with them (sea lice)…there is no reason scientifically to remove these salmon from the shelves,’’ said Hammell.

He says since food safety is not affected by sea lice Morton’s campaign amounts to nothing more than fear mongering.

“It’s a scare tactic,’’ he said.

“I have to admit it is a pretty effective one.’’