Media Release: B.C. Environmental groups urge Prime Minister to keep election promise

VANCOUVER — Environmental groups are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to direct the transition of B.C. salmon farms to closed containment when he writes his mandate letter to newly appointed Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Bernadette Jordan.

“To protect wild Pacific salmon from the adverse effects of open net-pens, the prime minister must stand firmly by his promise to transition salmon farms to closed-containment systems. A clear and meaningful commitment in the mandate letter is the first step toward this,” said David Suzuki Foundation senior science and policy adviser John Werring.

“There is no question that the precautionary approach to salmon farming requires immediate action to prevent salmon lice and disease agents from spreading to wild fish,” said Watershed Watch Salmon Society science and campaign adviser Stan Proboszcz. “The scientific evidence for this is clear, and the only way to actually prevent this is to remove salmon farms from wild fish migration routes.”

“Getting a land-based salmon farming industry going in B.C. will be an enormous job-creator,” said Living Oceans Society executive director Karen Wristen. “Just one facility, producing about half the current ocean-based production, would create over 4,000 jobs on northern Vancouver Island. And that number doesn’t even begin to account for the jobs in fishing and tourism that could grow again when wild fish stocks rebound.”

“The 2012 Cohen Commission report recommended that open net-pen salmon farms be removed from the Discovery Islands by September 30, 2020. To fulfil this recommendation and the government’s campaign promise, Minister Jordan will need clear and unequivocal direction to develop a fair plan to transition open net-pen salmon farms from B.C. waters, to be in place by the end of 2020,” said Georgia Strait Alliance executive director Christianne Wilhelmson.

The groups have written to the prime minister to urge him to include clear direction to honour this election promise in the minister’s mandate letter.

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Contact:

Living Oceans Society: Karen Wristen, Executive Director, 604-788-5634

David Suzuki Foundation: John Werring, Senior Science and Policy Advisor, 604-306-0517, jwerring@davidsuzuki.org

Watershed Watch Salmon Society: Stan Proboszcz, Science Advisor, 604-314-2713

Georgia Strait Alliance: Allison Murray Communications Associate, 604-442-1846, murraycommunications@yahoo.com

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