BC chefs calling for end to open net-pen salmon farming

Liza Mayer
April 06, 2018
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The tenures of 20 open net-pen salmon farms in the BC are up for review and renewal by the BC government in June
The tenures of 20 open net-pen salmon farms in the BC are up for review and renewal by the BC government in June BCSFA
More than 50 chefs in British Columbia are calling on the provincial government to end Atlantic salmon farming in the province.

The group outlined its concerns about open net-pens presenting a risk to wild salmon from parasites and disease in a letter to Doug Donaldson, the BC minister of forests, lands, natural-resource operations and rural development, and Lana Popham, the minister of agriculture.

“These farms are making both farmed and wild salmon sick. They need to be shut down or transitioned to sustainable, closed systems as quickly as possible,” said environmentalist David Suzuki, who added his name to the letter.

It is interesting to note, however, that an advisory council that Minister Lana Popham created in 2016 did not reach a consensus on the potential risks associated with salmon aquaculture in BC.

The members of the advisory council included representatives from the aquaculture industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, First Nations and federal and provincial government officials. In their final report released Thursday April 5, the council—called Minister of Agriculture's Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture (MAACF) — acknowledged there were “differences within MAACFA on the risk that farms pose.”

“Council members diverge on their views on the level of potential risk that farms pose to wild salmon and as a result views on how to address the overall risk of salmon farming are not uniform,” the report said.

The tenures of 20 open net-pen salmon farms in the BC are up for review and renewal by the BC government in June.

In neigbouring Washington State, a law that would end Atlantic salmon farming in the state when current leases expire in 2022 has been passed.

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