March 5, 2001
Environmental groups are applauding the approval of a land-based salmon farm south of Nanaimo that should have zero impacts on wild salmon and marine mammals.
The Georgia Strait Alliance and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation have campaigned for years to stop the environmental impacts caused by open netpen salmon farms and to convert the entire industry to closed contained marine or land-based technologies.
“This is a huge step forward for the marine environment,” said Georgia Strait Alliance Executive Director Laurie MacBride. “By moving salmon farming to land-based tanks there should be zero impacts on wild salmon, zero escaped farmed salmon and an end to the widespread killing of seals and sea lions. Land-based farms also eliminate the lost anchorages and noise pollution that are negatively affecting coastal recreation and eco-tourism.”
“Land-based salmon farming is environmentally friendly and stops all impacts on wild salmon,” said David Lane, Executive Director of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. “Open netpens are transferring diseases to wild salmon and escaped farmed fish are starting to colonize our wild salmon streams. Land-based salmon farming can completely eliminate these impacts.”
The land-based farm will be run by Agrimarine Processing which operates a fish processing plant in Campbell River. The farm, to be announced today by the provincial Minister of Fisheries, is part of a pilot project program initiated by the provincial government to encourage new environmental fish farm technologies. The Georgia Strait Alliance and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation are calling on the provincial government to expand the pilot program to allow more closed contained ocean and land-based test sites. Environmental groups are asking the provincial government to convert all open netpens to closed contained technologies within the next five years.