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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Groups fight over sea lice data access  (อ่าน 1692 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: กรกฎาคม 08, 2010, 07:55:43 AM »


A juvenile salmon with sea lice. Environmentalists are clamouring that the BC government release sea lice data. (Photo: Alexandra Morton)

Groups fight over sea lice data access

CANADA
Thursday, July 08, 2010, 03:00 (GMT + 9)



The British Columbia (BC) Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) responded on Tuesday to a freedom of information request for sea lice data by stating that the provincial government, the owner of the information, will choose when and how it will release the same. The T Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and Ecojustice had requested a disclosure of the sea lice data information collected from BC farms by government officials.
 
“The information under question is the province's informal database of information collected to audit the broader industry's records,” BCSFA said in a statement. “It's their information to share, and it's up to them when and how they do so.”

But the two environmental groups said last month that they won a six-year fight to obtain access to documents on sea lice, only for the government to then modify the rules and refuse the data for the groups’ subsequent request, The Canadian Press reports.

BC’s salmon farmers are under more regulation than any other food producers to report on the health and treatments of their animals, BCSFA assured. Their fish health management programmes include regular testing for sea lice and health levels; treatments are provided solely under the supervision of staff veterinarians, it continued.

BC’s Government releases an annual report about the gathered data, which is posted online and available to the public, and quarterly sea lice counts are posted on the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands website, the association argued.

When in 2004 Ecojustice and T Buck Suzuki requested sea lice infestation data from 2002 and 2003, the government did not want to disclose it until BC's privacy commissioner ordered it. When the groups asked for the very same records for January 2004 and March 2010, the government again rejected their request, but this time founding its refusal on different arguments.

David Lane, executive director at T Buck Suzuki, said the government should not be able to found its refusal on different grounds each time it is asked for information.

Critics of aquaculture farms have long believed that sea lice from fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago on the central BC coast are infesting wild juvenile salmon that migrate through the region. In turn, the federal Fisheries Department denies the allegation and says it has not found a connection between sea lice levels and the returns of wild salmon.

“We feel [the fish health management plan is] a good way for regulators to be certain the industry is operating in a healthy, safe manner, answering to the public interest while also respecting veterinary-client privilege and company operational privacy. The annual reports give large amounts of information with context and interpretation - something raw database numbers don't offer,” the association wrote.

“The two largest operators in the province: Marine Harvest Canada and Mainstream Canada both post site-by-site sea lice counts on their websites,” it continued.

BCSFA and the Association of Aquaculture Veterinarians of BC (AAVBC), however, were concerned about the last release of information because, BCSFA said, it represented separate portions of data that can be manipulated.

Related articles:

- BC fish farm assessment given green light
- BC farms' sea lice data goes public


By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com
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