February 1, 2002 Open Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture Expansion Misguided

Open Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture Expansion Misguided

February 1, 2002

The Steelhead Society of BC staunchly opposes the recently announced expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry on the coast of British Columbia.

“The recent decision to raise the moratorium and allow for the expansion of salmon aquaculture industry is lacking in sound, balanced scientific knowledge and has been made without a basic respect for the continued survival of wild salmon and the wild heritage of British Columbia”, said Steelhead Society President Scott Baker-McGarva.

The global marketplace is already glutted with farmed salmon from foreign markets and the natural fish stocks feeding the industry are collapsing. The short-term economic position of salmon aquaculture is far outweighed by the current and future habitat degradation as well as the potential loss of irreplaceable strains of wild salmon and steelhead through disease, sea lice infestation and escapes perpetrated by an expanded salmon aquaculture industry. As Alaska has banned net-pen salmon aquaculture since 1990 in response to the fear of negative impacts on wild stocks of pacific salmon it is extremely disappointing that the BC Provincial Government would allow the expansion of an industry that has a global history of habitat degradation and has been indicted I the elimination of wild native fish stocks. Farmed salmon are subjected to a gamut of antibiotics and chemical treatments before they are processed for market. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency agrees that sport or commercially caught escaped Atlantic salmon are possibly unfit for human consumption because of their unknown antibiotic content. As more escapes of farmed Atlantic salmon will occur as a result of this expansion we remind anglers and the general public to not consume Atlantic salmon that have been caught outside an enclosed farm system.

The strength of the open net-pen salmon aquaculture industry in BC is transient and parasitic. The tragic effects of the expansion of the industry will be felt generations after the necessary removal of the last net-pen from BC waters.