08/30/2017 3:00 PM
Particularly in light of the escape of several hundred thousand Atlantic Salmon from a net pen in Washington State waters in late summer of 2017, the level of concern among anglers, those in the environmental community and First Nations about the federal government’s plans to maintain or even allow the establishment of new salmon farms in BC is building and evidence of serious consequences to wild salmon stocks continues to mount. We’ve discussed this over the years and have encouraged participation in petitions urging the province to block plans and the federal government to acknowledge and address the issues.
The SFI has traditionally focused its advocacy efforts on issues regarding fisheries access, allocation, licensing and science. While our members oppose expanded net-pen salmon farming, we’ve made a decision to follow the work of the many groups who are primarily focused on salmon farming and support and endorse rather than duplicate efforts.
Our interest is to see decisions for expansion or continued operation of fish farms to be made on careful review of all of the facts and science available. There are studies that now shed definitive information on the risks, threats, and impacts of open net pen fish farming in coastal environments around the world and along the BC coast.
The federal government’s failure to act to address public concerns about the impacts of salmon farming on wild stocks is spurring a call to action among a variety of BC groups. While activism on salmon farming has largely been limited to ENGOs and First Nations, we would also like reiterate the issue, in voicing concern about the government’s actions on the subject.
By moving to act on some of the key recommendations of the Cohen Commission, government can have a meaningful impact on wild salmon stocks and demonstrate leadership on a mainstream environmental/conservation issue in British Columbia.
As opportunity to voice our concerns about open-net-pen salmon farming appear we will keep you apprised. We plan to continue with the approach that both as an organization, and as individuals who care passionately about sport fishing and our marine resources, we will add our voices to those calling for the protection of our wild salmon stocks.
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