Media Release: Despite federal commitment to transition from salmon farming in B.C., feds approve three fish farm expansions
VANCOUVER—Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently approved three fish farm expansions in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with no public consultation.
These expansions are in direct conflict with a federal promise detailed in the last two mandate letters to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (see backgrounder below) that committed DFO to “transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025.”
Two farm sites (Bawden Bay and Millar Channel) will see a 50 per cent increase in biomass, while one facility (Dixon Bay) will increase biomass by twenty five percent. This represents a total increase of 125 per cent—the equivalent of adding one and a quarter new fish farms.
“It is unbelievable that right now DFO would increase Atlantic salmon production in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve,” said Dan Lewis, executive director of Clayoquot Action in Tofino. “It appears DFO’s fish farm consultation has a predetermined outcome—otherwise, why would Cermaq be investing millions in what would be stranded assets after a transition away from open-net pen fish farms?”
When asked why this is happening, DFO staff told Lewis that Cermaq would prefer to run fewer, larger fish farms in order to increase profits. When asked if there is any science that concludes fewer, larger fish farms cause less harm to wild salmon, DFO admitted there is none.
Wild salmon populations in Clayoquot Sound are in precipitous decline, with spawners returning in tens where there used to be tens of thousands. Open-net salmon farms spread parasites, viruses and bacteria to wild salmon.
“A few bad apples in Fisheries and Oceans Canada continue to put the interests of the salmon farming industry ahead of protecting wild salmon,” said Stan Proboszcz, senior scientist at Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “I look to Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, to clean up this mess and fulfill the promise to transition from open-net salmon farms by 2025.”
For media inquiries contact:
Dan Lewis, Executive Director, Clayoquot Action – 250.726.8136, firstname.lastname@example.org (for images contact Mr. Lewis)
Stan Proboszcz, Senior Scientist, Watershed Watch Salmon Society – 604-314-2713, email@example.com
Federal mandate letters from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Fisheries detailing the promise to transition from open net-pen salmon farms by 2025:
Summary of fish farm expansions on DFO website: