Media Release: Conservation Groups Urge Action on Salmon Farms

Re. Minister’s Advisory Committee report released April 5, 2018

VANCOUVER –  Conservation groups urge the Provincial government to take action on the report of the Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture, by refusing to renew salmon farm tenures in the Broughton Archipelago when they expire in June.  The report recommends that salmon farms be sited only where there are agreements with First Nations.

“We want to thank the Minister for releasing this report to facilitate public discussion, and for maintaining the moratorium on expansion of the industry in the meantime,” said Christianne Wilhelmson of Georgia Strait Alliance.

“The report’s recommendations underline the need to allow salmon farm leases in the Broughton to expire,” said Alexandra Morton of Raincoast Research.  “There are no agreements there with First Nations and the impacts of the farms on wild salmon have been most thoroughly studied there.” Morton is just beginning her 18th year studying the impact of parasitic lice on wild juvenile salmon in the region.

The report’s recommendations were developed through a consensus-based, multi-stakeholder process.  Differing views on the risk posed by salmon farming were not reconciled, but outlined in separate appendices to the main report.  “Appendix 9 contains an up-to-date summary of the science on salmon farming impacts, indicating that impacts are of sufficient concern that Canadian law requires application of the precautionary principle,” said Karen Wristen of Living Oceans Society. “Most importantly, that means stopping the introduction of Atlantic salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV).”  PRV is the salmon farm virus found in bloodwater discharged from two Vancouver Island fish processing plants late last year.

“Pink salmon are currently beginning their outmigration past salmon farms, and endangered Fraser sockeye salmon will follow in a matter of weeks,” said Stan Proboszcz, Science Advisor for Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “We’re hopeful our provincial government will take heed of the serious disease and parasite risks outlined in the report, stand up for wild salmon and remove fish farms from wild salmon migration routes.”

John Werring, Senior Science and Policy Advisor at the David Suzuki Foundation was a member of the committee that authored the report. “It is important to understand that while the recommendations made in this report are the result of a consensus-based process involving multiple stakeholders.  While we were unable to reach agreement on the urgency of taking action to protect wild salmon, this document at least forms the basis of a plan for moving forward.”

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Contact:

Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch 604-314-2713

Christianne Wilhelmson, Georgia Strait Alliance  604-862-7579

John Werring, David Suzuki Foundation   604-306-0517

Alex Morton, Raincoast Research Society 250-974-7086

Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society  604-788-5634

Report of the Minister’s Advisory Committee is found here.

 

 

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