Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bay of Fundy Lobster Killer Used in Cobscook Bay, Maine

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It's amazing really that those who should know better keep making the same mistakes ... over and over.

Lobster, crabs, sea fleas and most of the important zooplankton in the Quoddy area are all arthropds that are related to insects, the group for which many of our pesticides were developed and what kills one may well kill the others. If Cypermethrin and other chemicals in that family are toxic to lobster, then one should expect huge impacts on our vital plankton including the larvae of ALL arthropods in the area; everything from sea fleas to crabs.

But think about this. If, as seems highly likely, the application of Cypermethrin in salmon cages in the Quoddy area has killed adult lobsters, it is no stretch to assume that this also killed a vital planktonic species called Calanus finmarchicus, the principal food of North Atlantic Right Whales. Is that another breech of law?

As for the assurances coming from government biologists, one should always remember DDT ... it was okay to use too!

My opinion

Excerpt from Quoddy Tides article

Cypermethrin use in Maine

While the use of cypermethrin in aquaculture cages is prohibited in Canada, the pesticide's use is allowed under certain restrictions at salmon farms in Maine. Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) program, the use of Excis, a trade name for cypermethrin, was allowed during the late 1990s for sea lice treatment at salmon cages in the state. Approval was again granted for a period from November 2009 to January 2010 for Cooke Aquaculture to use Excis for treatments at six salmon sites, all in Cobscook Bay, according to Matthew Young of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Water Quality Management. In addition to conditions placed by the FDA to use cypermethrin, the DEP issues restrictions on the pesticide's use under the Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for salmon aquaculture.

Cypermethrin is used in a bath treatment in which a tarp is pulled up inside the cage, and a very low concentration of the pesticide is put in the water inside containing the salmon. The water is not released outside the tarp for at least an hour, and the concentration decreases over time as cypermethrin binds with organic compounds in the water. Young says that fish farmers have also used cypermethrin in well-boats that are used to transport salmon, and the water is released into Cobscook Bay, near the farm sites.

With the drug usage, the FDA requires environmental monitoring of the water, sediments and any organisms in the environment, and the results must be provided to the DEP. The survey results following the treatments in Cobscook Bay show that cypermethrin is at non-detectable levels in the waters or in any of the nearby environment where samples were collected.

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