Open-net pen salmon farms pose serious threats to Pacific salmon and the marine environment.
Georgia Strait Alliance has a long history of fighting for the removal of open-net pen salmon farms from the coastal waters of British Columbia. In the last couple of years, we have reinvigorated our work on this issue as new scientific studies continue to confirm what we’ve known for a long time now: fish farms are polluting coastal ecosystems and threatening wild salmon populations.
These open-net fish farms expose wild Pacific salmon to parasites such as sea lice, viruses and diseases as they move along their migration routes, weakening these species that already have a difficult path ahead to get to the ocean and eventually back to their spawning grounds.
GSA is a member of the Conservation Regulatory Working Group (CRWG), a collective of conservation-based ENGOs, businesses and scientists, who are advocating for the removal of open net-cage salmon farms in B.C. waters and promoting the transition to land-based closed containment systems.
We use the best available science, community and indigenous knowledge and the precautionary principle to inform our work and help us support solutions that will reduce the risks to wild salmon and their habitat from this industry.
GSA continues to publicly advocate for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans – the federal government body responsible for issuing the fish farm licenses – to ban and remove all open-net fish farms from BC waters by no later than 2025 while supporting and putting the economic well-being of coastal and First Nation communities at the forefront of that transition.
The only way we can ensure that wild Pacific salmon and their habitat are not threatened by this industry any longer is by moving all open-net cage salmon fish farms out of the water and into land-based closed containment farms with proper wastewater treatment. Any other technology would fail to completely remove their waste, diseases and parasites from the natural environment and will continue to harm BC’s already at-risk salmon populations.
Canada has a massive opportunity to protect wild salmon and the people that depend on it. But we don’t have time to drag our feet on this transition. Wild salmon are in a state of emergency suffering from multiple stressors, including climate change, and by removing this industry from BC waters now, we can help clear the path for their survival and recovery.