March 9, 2012
Nanaimo, BC – The recent announcement by BC Salmon Farmers Association of an agreement between the three largest salmon farming companies to coordinate production of their operations through the northern portion of the Wild Salmon Narrows falls far short of solving the problems created by open net cage farming. Georgia Strait Alliance has been calling for the full removal of these farms in order to reduce the risk of infection to wild juvenile salmon passing through this constricted area.
Along with salmon from other rivers and streams, many Fraser River juvniles must reach the sea by swimming through the Wild Salmon Narrows (Okisollo and Hoskyn Channels, along the east and north of Quadra Island at the north end of Georgia Strait). To get through this narrow corridor, they must pass up to nine active salmon farms, with each active one holding half a million farmed fish in its open net cages – a perfect breeding ground for sea lice and other pathogens.
"This recent announcement of coordination of production on these farms is an indication that the industry is feeling the public call to remove the farms," said Ruby Berry, Program Director, Georgia Strait Alliance. "However, as long as the farms remain in the water, any amount of industry coordination cannot elliminate the risk that disease and sea lice from open net cage farms pose to wild salmon."
"In this narrow passageway, stocked, open net cage fish farms are a direct threat to the health of wild salmon," she commented. " The survival of the Fraser and other wild salmon runs necessitates the removal of these net cage farms from the path of the the vulnerable young salmon."
Formed in 1990, Georgia Strait Alliance (www.georgiastrait.org) is the only citizens’ group working to protect and restore the marine environment and promote the sustainability of Georgia Strait, its adjoining waters and communities, the place where 70% of British Columbians live, work and play.
Georgia Strait Alliance is a member group of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.
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