Groups Condemn Province’s Failure to Act on Aquaculture Solutions

Absence of closed containment funding missed opportunity in Budget 2009

February 17, 2009

Victoria, BC – The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) today slammed the BC government for once again failing to invest in the development of a new, green technology industry that would address the numerous devastating impacts of open net-cage salmon farming in coastal waters while creating jobs for the new economy.

"When the economy was booming, the Province buried their heads in the sand and denied salmon farming practices were a problem," said Ruby Berry of the Georgia Strait Alliance. "Now that they can no longer ignore the weight of scientific evidence proving the farms are killing our wild salmon, they are using the economic downturn as an excuse to avoid action. The survival of BC’s wild salmon should be a priority to the Campbell government as it is to the voters."

The seven member groups of CAAR have been rallying support for a budget allocation to closed containment development. Over twenty retail food businesses, ten local and regional governments and Chambers of Commerce in BC have supported the funding. Marine Harvest Canada joined CAAR in requesting the technology fund. The Finance Committee recommended funding in Budget 2009 for closed containment aquaculture systems, as well as the Pacific Salmon Forum. The Province has again failed to act.

"CAAR has been actively seeking a solution that would allow salmon aquaculture to continue to operate in BC while addressing the significant impacts the industry’s current practices are having on our oceans and wild salmon stocks," said Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society. "If neither government nor industry is willing to invest in the development of closed containment, the only hope for saving wild salmon from the impacts of open net-cages may ultimately be the closure of farms."      


For more information contact:

Ruby Berry, Georgia Strait Alliance: 250-218-6818

Catherine Stewart, Living Oceans Society: 604-916-6722

Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-732-4228