DFO approves new open net-pen salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound despite ongoing concerns about disease and pathogens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 12, 2012

Vancouver, B.C.— The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is appalled to learn that on October 10, DFO quietly issued a new aquaculture licence to Mainstream Canada for another open net-pen salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound. The new site is located in Fortune Channel near Plover Point on Meares Island.

“DFO calls this new licence a ‘replacement’ for another site that has been inactive for 47 out of the last 51 months,” said David Lane, Executive Director of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. “Replacing a poorly producing site with a site able to greatly expand production of Atlantic salmon in open net-pens along the Bedwell Sound and Fortune Channel corridor is a recipe for disaster for wild salmon.”

Wild salmon in Clayoquot Sound continue to be some of the most depressed stocks along the west coast of Vancouver Island even though their freshwater habitat is relatively pristine. Earlier this year Mainstream Canada emptied two of their farm sites in Clayoquot Sound due to confirmation of the IHN virus in their Atlantic salmon. They claim the source was passing wild salmon. As well, testimony was given at the Cohen Inquiry last winter showing evidence of positive test results for the ISA virus at two other Pacific salmon farms in the Sound. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is currently in the first year of a two year pathogen surveillance program of wild and farmed salmon in B.C. coastal waters. Results are not yet available.

“We are hugely disappointed that DFO took this decision at this time,” said Kelly Roebuck from Living Oceans Society. “The Cohen Report is due out in less than a month and the recommendations from that report may have an impact on salmon farming everywhere in B.C., not just along the migration routes of Fraser River sockeye.“

CAAR supports an end to net-pen production and a transition to closed containment technology for the industry.

“The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation in Clayoquot Sound makes it the perfect proving ground for raising salmon in closed containment technology,” said John Werring, Senior Science and Policy Advisor for the David Suzuki Foundation. “The intent of the designation is to explore new ways to create employment that have less harmful environmental impacts and closed containment has huge potential to do just that by eliminating any interaction between the farmed salmon and their surrounding marine environment.”


For more information:

David Lane, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, Cell: 604-258-8119
Kelly Roebuck, Living Oceans Society, Cell: 1-778-232-0329
John Werring, David Suzuki Foundation, Phone: 604-732-4228  Ex. 1245  Cell: 604-313-3132
Ruby Berry, Georgia Strait Alliance, Cell: 1-250-650-9756