Conservationists applaud mayors, councillors, and regional directors for defending B.C.’s wild salmon
VICTORIA- Today at the annual meeting of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, two important resolutions on open-net fish farms resolutions were passed.
One resolution, brought by the City of Victoria, urges the Province to begin the consultation process for a transition from open net-pen salmon farming to safer land-based salmon aquaculture. Another resolution brought by the District of Sooke, calls on the Province to protect our wild salmon from the diseases of commercial salmon farms.
“Today’s results send a clear message to the province and the federal government that the majority of coastal communities value their wild fish and the sustenance and jobs those fish provide,” says Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans Society. “They want their governments to defend our wild salmon.”
“The science is clear,” says Stan Proboszcz, science advisor for Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “Open net-pen fish farms can spread harmful viruses and parasitic lice to B.C.’s wild salmon. With so many of our wild salmon populations in decline, we need to keep their migration routes free of contamination.”
After new legislation passed last month in Washington state, B.C. is now the only place on the west coast of North America allowing open net-pen fish farms. Conservation groups are calling on the provincial and federal governments to take similar action here.
Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society, 604-788-5634
Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, 604-314-2713
R21 Protecting Local Waterways & Wild Fish Species – City of Victoria
Whereas British Columbia’s coastal communities rely on healthy waterways and healthy marine ecosystems including fisheries for economic, social and ecological wellbeing and where the proliferation of open-net fish farms with non-native fish species threatens local waterways and wild fish species, undermining the economic, social and ecological wellbeing of local communities;
And whereas many open-net fish farms have been established in indigenous territories in the absence of adequate consultation with indigenous governments, undermining the shared objective of reconciliation and respectful relations between indigenous and non-indigenous governments:
Therefore be it resolved that the Province of British Columbia consult First Nations governments, local governments, conservation organizations and industry on a transition plan to closed-containment aquaculture, including a just transition for affected workers.
R28 Protection of Native West Coast Salmon – District of Sooke
Whereas British Columbia’s native west coast wild salmon can be negatively impacted by commercial salmon farms due to increased levels of diseases and parasites from farmed salmon; degradation of their genetic makeup through interbreeding with escaped farmed salmon; and ecological competition with escaped farmed salmon:
Therefore be it resolved that AVICC and UBCM urge the Province of British Columbia to enact legislation that would protect British Columbia’s wild salmon stock from the negative impacts of commercial salmon farms.