July 10, 2008
NANAIMO, BC – Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) denounced the BC Government’s 2007 salmon aquaculture regulatory compliance report released today. Regulations of the salmon farming industry are woefully inadequate and even full compliance would not adequately protect our marine ecosystems from the negative impacts.
"High industry compliance with inadequate regulations that fail to protect wild salmon and the marine environment is nothing to celebrate", says Michelle Young , Salmon Aquaculture Campaigner. "I would not brag about getting 99% on a driving test if I also had a string of car accidents".
Despite the BC Government announcing generally high levels of compliance for 2007, there are many industry and compliance monitoring deficiencies in this report.
These are just a few of the deficiencies with regulation of BC’s open net pen salmon farming industry:
- Industry scored highly on escape response and net maintenance, yet 19,246 salmon escaped in 2007, and 30,000 farmed salmon still managed to escape a farm in the northern Georgia Strait region on Canada Day this year.
- Only 13 of the 82 active sights were audited for environmental standards compliance.
- 8% of farms did not bother to submit their mandatory environmental monitoring program reports to the Ministry of Environment on time.
- Only 4 farms were subjected to random subsurface audits, and these audits actually took place in 2008, yet were reported in the 2007 compliance report.
- Fines for non-compliance are very low or non-existent. A farm that failed to report a 2007 fish escape was fined only $173. Total fines for the year were $403.
"If Provincial Regulations were strong enough to truly protect the marine environment from the devastating effects of open net cage fish farming, the only effective recourse for the industry would be to move the farms out of the wild ocean environment and into closed containment. It’s time for the Government to step up and assure the protection that British Columbians want." commented Ruby Berry, Salmon Aquaculture Coordinator.
Georgia Strait Alliance 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.
For more information, please contact:
Michelle Young, Salmon Aquaculture Campaigner, (250) 753-3459, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruby Berry, Salmon Aquaculture Campaign Coordinator, (250) 334-9756, email@example.com