Aquaculture North America

‘False’ advertising claims lead to removal of anti-salmon farming billboards in Ottawa

December 7, 2023
By Aquaculture North America staff

A complaint by the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) of false advertising has caused the removal of anti-salmon farming billboards around Ottawa to be removed for false advertising.

Wild First is a non-governmental organization that aims to protect British Columbia’s wild Pacific salmon by working with governments and communities transitioning away from open net pen fish farms.

CAIA’s press release stated that the ads included information about open-net pen salmon farms being banned in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska. Based on this inaccurate information, the ads called on Ottawa to remove all salmon farms from B.C. waters.

Tim Kennedy, CAIA president and CEO said, in the Alaska Department Fish and Game’s Salmon Fisheries Enhancement Report, the state’s aquaculture program grew approximately 1.9 billion juvenile salmon in a combination of land-based hatcheries and ocean-based net pens in 2022.

“These anti-salmon billboards included statements by the activist group Wild First that were both false and potentially economically harmful to British Columbia businesses and organizations and their employees that the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance represents. Modern, sustainable, in-ocean salmon aquaculture is the second biggest agri-food export in British Columbia and key to the blue economy future for people living in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities,” said Kennedy.

The letter from CAIA states that the farming of finfish (including salmon) is not banned in California, Oregon, or Washington and in Alaska, net pens are commonly used to raise salmon for commercial purposes.

“In an age of misinformation, we are pleased that the right thing happened – false ads that did not stand up to the truth test were removed,” said Kennedy. “Activists with deep pockets who don’t live or work where our salmon farmers live and work are trying to drive policy decisions in Ottawa that would cancel people’s livelihoods using a storyline based on old data and false information.”

On Nov. 18, 2022, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced that Washington’s public aquatic lands will no longer be home to commercial finfish net pen aquaculture. But on Oct. 20, a decision from the Thurston County Superior Court Judge Indu Thomas stated that Washington’s net pen ban has “no legal effect.”

According to the press release by CAIA, in Washington state, the farming of native fish species in the marine environment (net pens) is allowed and “No regulations in any of the four states ban the use of netting (net pens) for the purpose of containing fish.”

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