CAAR opposes planned open net cage salmon production increases

April 17, 2012

VANCOUVER – The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is vehemently opposing plans by Marine Harvest to increase production on salmon farms directly in the path of out-migrating juvenile salmon. In an April 17, 2012 letter to DFO’s Regional Director General, CAAR demanded that any amendments to aquaculture licenses to increase production levels of farmed salmon in BC waters be denied.

Marine Harvest Canada submitted a license amendment application to DFO asking for an increase in production at its Shelter Bay site and they have already made significant changes to the size of their farm at nearby Marsh Bay. Both sites are located on the mainland shore across from Northeastern Vancouver Island. They are applying to transfer licensed production from sites that have not been operational for many years to this area. If these amendments are approved, these sites could see production increases by as much as 35%. These two farms lie directly in the path of out-migrating Cultus Lake sockeye salmon – a stock of Fraser River sockeye that has been recommended for emergency listing as an endangered population by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). CAAR member groups believe that any expansion of salmon farm production along wild salmon migration routes on the B.C. coast will subject threatened and endangered wild salmon runs to significant increased impacts from both sea lice and disease from open net salmon farms.

“Adding more farmed salmon to these sites is contrary to the DFO’s commitment to with hold decisions on marine finfish applications pending the Cohen Inquiry report”, commented Will Soltau of Living Oceans Society. “Transferring production from inactive sites without understanding what the environmental impacts are is irresponsible.”

"DFO and the industry are making use of bureaucratic loopholes to effectively increase production at open net cage salmon farms in BC waters and they are doing it in secret,” said Ruby Berry of Georgia Strait Alliance. “DFO has no mechanism in place for assessing existing, let alone increased or cumulative impacts of sea lice and disease from salmon farms sited on wild salmon migration routes.”

With the introduction of aquaculture licencing under the Federal Pacific Aquaculture Regulations (PARs), there is no longer any mechanism in place that will allow for public consultation on the proposed amendments, and repeatedly the people of BC have supported an end to open net-cage salmon farming and a transition to closed containment.                                           


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