FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 3, 2004
POWELL RIVER – Today, an environmental group congratulated the federal government for turning down a proposed salmon farm at Raven Bay, Texada Island along the Sunshine Coast.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada have completed their review of this site and have denied approval saying that the navigational concerns around the site have proved “insurmountable.”
The eastern shoreline of Texada is a sheltered tow route and a net-cage facility at Raven Bay would present a significant navigation hazard, particularly during bad weather. The proponents, West Coast Fishculture and Marine Harvest, did submit a secondary net-cage design and lay out to mitigate the hazard, but this design was also unacceptable to Transport Canada.
“We would like to congratulate the federal government on making the right decision,” said Patrick Walshe, Local Outreach Coordinator for the Georgia Strait Alliance. “We consider this a significant victory because very few applications fail. We’ve been working since 2002 to ensure that local concerns about this proposed open net cage salmon farm are heard by decision-makers,” stated Walshe.
This application met strong opposition from key stakeholders, including 521 residents of Texada Island who signed a petition opposing the farm, the Sliammon First Nation, the Georgia Strait Alliance, the Texada Island Chamber of Commerce, the commercial and sports fishing sectors, the eco-tourism industry, the Powell River Regional District and concerned citizens of Powell River and area.
“We wish to continue working with communities to help stem the proliferation of open net cage sites in the Strait of Georgia. The industry needs to transition to closed containment systems, which separate the farmed fish from the marine environment and include waste treatment. This will require some creativity and incentives, but it must be done,” Walshe stated.