Resource: Wild Fish Trapped: Incidental Catch in the Salmon Farming Industry

Report Title: Wild Fish Trapped: Incidental Catch in the Salmon Farming Industry

Author: Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Date: June 2019

Full Report: PDF


In recent years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has been criticized by numerous high profile and independent entities on its failure to protect British Columbia’s wild fish from the risks of open-net salmon farms:

  • 2012 – the $37 million Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River concluded DFO’s alignment with the salmon farming industry may impede its ability to protect wild fish;
  • 2012 – an expert panel appointed by the Royal Society of Canada concluded DFO’s alignment with industry may impede its conservation of biodiversity mandate;
  • 2018 – the Auditor General of Canada concluded DFO did not adequately enforce compliance with salmon farming regulations to protect wild fish;
  • 2018 – an expert independent panel appointed by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, found problems with DFO aquaculture science, including transparency issues with online reporting and risk assessments; and
  • 2019 – a federal court judge concluded that, in relation to the risks of fish farm pathogens, DFO “fails to embody and is inconsistent with the precautionary principle, and it fails to take into consideration the health of wild Pacific salmon.”


In short, DFO’s record on regulating the salmon farming industry is fraught with criticism. This includes their communication of science, and public reporting. They require continued auditing and critique. This report aims to increase public understanding of the risks of open-net salmon farming and the inadequacies of DFO’s oversight of this industry.

Go to Top