Government Ignores Science in Decision to Expand Salmon Farming

September 12, 2002

NANAIMOMinister John Van Dongen’s announcement today concerning the government’s decision to lift the moratorium of salmon farming is based on ideology not science, said Laurie MacBride, Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance.

“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ own scientists concluded in a recently published peer-reviewed paper that the newly introduced waste management regulation for aquaculture will not adequately protect marine habitat. Even the province’s own Scientific Advisory Group does not agree with the approach of this regulation,” said Suzanne Connell, Salmon Aquaculture Program Coordinator for the Georgia Strait Alliance.

For more than a decade the Georgia Strait Alliance has been highlighting the environmental impacts of net-cage salmon farming. Some of these include pollution, escapes of farmed salmon, disease transfer to wild stocks and sea lice outbreaks.

The group also maintains that the government’s claim that lifting the moratorium will create up to 12,000 new jobs is dubious. “The reality is that worldwide, fish farms have expanded but the number of people they employ has decreased, “said Connell. “There’s no reason to think it would be any different in British Columbia, since the same foreign-owed multinationals control the industry here.”