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Rotenone Usage

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The Scottish Government has announced plans to deal with the salmon killer parasite Gyrodactylus salaris (G.salaris) should it arrive in Scotland. It proposes to kill off ALL wild salmon (not to mention all trout and grayling too) in river systems where G.salaris is detected using Rotenone which has been widely used in Norway where 46 infected salmon rivers have been treated.


This was the opening paragraph of an article in this month's Fly Fishing & Fly Tying in Northern Climes, an editorial that is protective of the salmon fishings in Scotland and has long been an ardent campaigner against salmon farming.

Norwegian fish farmers imported fish from the Baltic where they are resistant to G.salaris and expected the Atlantic Salmon to be resistant also but alas no, this was not the case and they managed to infect a great many of Norway's salmon rivers. This then brought about the usage of Rotenone with which they killed off every single fish of all species in an attempt to eradicate the disease. It is reported that all these rivers are now recovered and productive again but I think that his statement needs taken with a pinch of salt


Just imagine the effect on the likes of the Tweed, Tay and the Dee. These rivers have huge catchment areas for their size in Scotland and if the Tweed was to be infected that every tributary used by salmonids would have to be treated meaning the total loss of all game fishing in the area, the loss of tourism, anglers and employment in the game angling sector with no guarantee of success.


In Scotland they would be looking at a 'cataclysmic environmental disaster' (FF&FT words) on monumental proportions if this disease ran rife and they responded with the proposed measures.


It does not bear thinking about.

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I am completely against using rotenone (in most cases) after seeing it used irresponsibly by National Parks Service in Shenandoah (Virginia). It would seem to me that rotenone ,in this case, is pointless. What happens when the river recovers and more infected fish come into the system? Try the same thing again?


I hate salmon farms with a passion and will hopefully see the day when it is banned in Canada. They are going to a major contributor to the extinction of the wild Pacific Salmon and Steelhead stocks in BC and also the Atlantic Salmon throughout its' range. They've already done a number to populations in Ireland. When will governments like Norway pull their heads out of their asses and start to realize that they will lose an entire species if something isn't done...the same goes for BC?!? Mismanagement astounds me...especially when there is myriad of research that proves the cons far outweigh the pros.


Sorry for the rant.



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I'm not posting this to be controversial, but I have a question/comment:


We have fairly successfully destroyed commercial fish stocks throughout North America. The problem is we need the protein. So if there are not enough left to fish commercially, then where do the fish come from? Personally, I would of course prefer to see the practice of fish farming banned. But how do we balance the need the food against the danger to the native fish populations? It is naive to believe that the practice will just be banned without some viable alternative to replace the food. I have absolutely no solution or suggestion, just wondering out loud.

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I should've said that I hope I live to see a ban on open-pen salmon farms. There are ways to practice aquaculture so that it does not harm the environment around you...and then there are ways to practice unsafe and irresponsible aquaculture. It's not only salmon and steelhead that we need to be concerned with but all manner of sea life that are effected by the farms.


Sorry, I know this is kind of highjacking the original post.

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All sounds a little "NIMBY" to me. Remember food production has to be cost effective or half the world will be rioting. No simple solutions on this one.

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