Acoustic monitoring of wild fish interactions with aquaculture sites



The sustainability of the BC salmon aquaculture industry is widely questioned due to concerns related to the potential risk posed by farmed salmon to wild salmon. Building on previous ARCDP project P-14-01-001 Migration timing and distribution of juvenile salmon in Discovery Islands and Johnstone Strait, this project is aiming at understanding the ecological interactions between wild and farmed salmon by determining the distribution and duration of juvenile salmon migration in the Discovery Islands and Johnstone Strait area and monitoring wild salmon’s interactions with aquaculture facilities.

The current project will monitor the activity of wild fish in the direct vicinity of aquaculture sites, continue monitoring wild salmon migration in Okisollo channel, perform fishing experiments, and complete detailed analyses of the collected acoustic data. The results from this project will contribute to address critical uncertainties and recommendations with respect to: 1) marine survival in their early marine life; 2) disease transfer and interactions between wild and farm salmon; and 3) assessing the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors on Fraser River Sockeye Salmon productivity.

This project will address understanding the migratory pathways of wild salmon and the duration of their residency in the vicinity of fish farms. The understanding of the prevalence of pathogens and the disease within wild and farmed populations, along with the overall physiological well-being and the health of wild populations, would help assess the risk associated with microbe transfer between farmed and wild hosts. This research in combination with the other funded projects on this topic will greatly improve our understanding in all of these areas.

Program name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


1-year project

Principal investigator

Stéphane Gauthier, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Pacific Region

Team members

Stewart Johnson, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Pacific Region
Chrys Neville, Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Pacific Region
Marc Trudel, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, Maritimes Region


Barry Milligan, Fish Health Director and Veterinarian, Cermaq Canada Ltd.
Sharon DeDominicis, Director, Marine Harvest Canada Limited