— April 25, 2016 —

Sea lice do not pose human health risk

Pamela Parker
Executive Director
The decision by Sobeys to pull whole farmed Atlantic salmon from its stores yesterday in the Maritimes has prompted questions about sea lice, if they have any impact on the quality of the product and how our salmon farmers manage sea lice. Below are important facts:
  • Sea lice are naturally occurring in the marine environment and found on a variety of both wild and farmed fish stocks around the world. Their populations vary from area to area.
  • Sea lice do not pose a human health risk.
  • Farmed salmon enter the net pen lice free; however, because lice travel on wild fish, ocean currents and even in zooplankton they can move freely between both wild and farmed fish.
  • Sea lice are found only on the outside of fish and not in the flesh; therefore, they do not affect the quality of the meat.
  • Our salmon farmers make every effort to ensure any sea lice are removed from fish during processing; however, sometimes not all can be detected. Sea lice can also be found on wild-caught salmon. Sea lice do not pose a human health risk.
  • Avoiding sea lice is a top priority of Atlantic salmon farmers. They have developed a variety of management practices to reduce the likelihood of sea lice on  their fish.

The fact of the matter is, Atlantic salmon is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. One of the world’s best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, Atlantic salmon is high in protein, low in saturated fat and loaded with vitamin D and E. Our region produces 30 per cent of Canada’s farmed salmon, which is sold around the world. Our farmers are proud of the industry they have built over the past 30 years and are committed to continuing to produce high quality and nutritious salmon.

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