March 30, 2004
The BC Government receives a failing grade (‘F’) for its regulation of the salmon farming industry in a Report Card released today.
Regulating Salmon Aquaculture in BC – A Report Card finds the government has failed to live up to most of the recommendations tabled by its own Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) in 1997. The report card also highlights that contrary to the provincial government’s claim to have implemented 39 out of 49 recommendations, in fact only 10 recommendations have been fully implemented.
The report card gives the provincial government a failing grade in 8 out of 10 areas previously identified by the EAO. It scored lowest (F) in the First Nations and Conflict Resolution sections of the report card. Significantly, the government has failed to adequately consult with First Nations; has failed to increase public participation in decision making about locating salmon farms; and has failed to identify sensitive fish habitat and migration routes.
"The government has failed British Columbians and continues to endanger wild salmon," remarked the report author Suzanne Connell of the Georgia Strait Alliance. "We’re calling on the government to reinstate the moratorium and live up to its responsibility to regulate the salmon farming industry."
The Report Card challenges the government’s own assessment of its progress in implementing EAO recommendations. In all areas, the report finds the government falls far short of claims to have properly regulated the industry. The report notes government has consistently failed to provide the public with access to information on salmon farms.
The study recommends that government should improve its record by reinstating the moratorium on new salmon farms, eliminating net cage salmon farms and requiring salmon farm operators to disclose all information to the public concerning disease outbreaks, drugs and chemical use on their farms.
"The fact that citizens don’t have access to data about the impacts of salmon farming points to a serious problem as the industry continues to grow – diseases and parasites from farms could be seriously harming wild salmon runs and the public would be kept entirely in the dark," said David Lane, Executive Director of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.
The Report Card was produced by the Georgia Strait Alliance for the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR).
The full report is available here.
The Georgia Strait Alliance is a member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) – a coalition of conservation and First Nations groups working to protect the ocean and humans from detrimental impacts from salmon farming. For more information visit www.farmedanddangerous.org