Potential ecological and economic impacts of sea lice from farmed salmon on wild salmon fisheries
This paper examines the possible ecological and economic effects of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon populations and fisheries. A bioeconomic model is developed incorporating an age-structured population dynamics model of wild pink and chum salmon with mortality caused by farm-derived sea lice. Our model incorporates capture fisheries under two management policy scenarios. Results suggest that the ecological and economic effects are minor when the sea lice induced mortality rate is below 20%, while they can be severe if the mortality is greater than 30%. Sea lice have greater ecological and economic impacts on pink salmon than on chum salmon. The impact of farm lice epizootics on wild salmon is greater under a fixed exploitation rate than under a target escapement policy. As a result, a precautionary principle should be adopted, and appropriate management schemes and policy strategies should be developed to minimize these effects.
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