NANFA-- more on the BC salmon farming debate

Jay DeLong (
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 13:38:57 -0700

Two more items on the BC salmon farming debate:
1) a letter from mayors of British Columbia fishing towns in support of
removing the 4-year moratorium on salmon farming development and expansion

2) an article from (although
the article referenced is no longer posted on the site) describing the BC
government's apparent forthcoming "expansion" of salmon farming while not
actually lifting the moratorium. (NDP is the New Democratic Party.)

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA

HEADLINE: An open letter to the Premier from B.C.'s Coastal Mayors on the
future of salmon aquaculture in British Columbia


BODY:Premier Dan Miller,
Room 156, Parliament Bldgs
Victoria, B.C.
V8V 1X4

Dear Mr. Premier,

As elected representatives of B.C. coastal communities in which salmon
aquaculture plays an important present and/or future role in economic and
social development, the undersigned share a concern about the provincial
government's inaction in resolving the longstanding moratorium on salmon
farm expansion.

The lack of government support for the growth and expansion of this
promising industry is particularly troubling when we consider that:
- The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office's Salmon Aquaculture
Review found that salmon farming "presents low probability of risk of
adverse effects to the province's environment."
- The recommendations in the Salmon Aquaculture Review provide for the
most stringent environmental standards in the world, for First Nations and
community involvement, technological innovation, and growth of salmon
- A recent economic study found that salmon farming in British
Columbia has the potential to create 20,000 new jobs, attract $ 900 million
in new capital investment, and generate $ 1 billion in annual revenues
within 10-12 years;
- Due to the downturn of B.C.'s resource economy, all of the
communities that stand to benefit from the growth and expansion of salmon
aquaculture are currently struggling to diversify their economies, attract
new investment and generate job opportunities for local residents;
- The competitiveness and market share of B.C.'s salmon farming
industry is eroding, as its worldwide competitors continue to grow, increase
productivity and capitalize on the competitive advantages that economies of
scale provide.

As B.C.'s moratorium on salmon farm expansion approaches its fifth
anniversary, the undersigned call upon the provincial government to
- Publicly declare that salmon aquaculture is an environmentally,
economically and socially desirable industry, and a legitimate user of the
marine resource;
- Ensure security of tenure for all existing operating and fallow
salmon farm sites, and provide for the relocation of poorly sited farms;
- Implement the environmental and operational regulations and
guidelines recommended in the Salmon Aquaculture Review;
- Lift the moratorium on salmon farm expansion, and provide clear
guidelines, criteria and timelines for the responsible growth and expansion
of the industry;
- Ensure that opportunities for industry growth and expansion will
provide a sufficient number of new sites to establish economies of scale in
regions throughout coastal BC.

Mayor Jim Lornie, Campbell River, (250) 286-5700
Mayor Gillian Trumper, Port Alberni, (250) 723-2146
Mayor Bob Surch, Port Alice, (250) 284-3391
Mayor Russ Hellberg, Port Hardy, (250) 949-6665
Mayor Gerry Furney, Port McNeill, (250) 956-3333
Mayor Jack Mussallem, Prince Rupert, (250) 627-0837
Mayor Heather Sprout, Sayward, (250) 282-5512
Mayor Clifford Pederson, Zeballos, (250) 761-4229


B.C. expected to allow expansion of salmon-farming operations Policy shift
means more jobs for province's out-of-work fishermen

British Columbia Bureau
Monday, October 18, 1999

Vancouver -- British Columbia is expected to announce new rules this week
for "farming" salmon along the West Coast that could mean hundreds of jobs
for those put out of work by tough federal government measures to save wild
salmon stocks.

The province clamped a moratorium on fish farms four years ago, backed by
environmentalists' fears that fish that escape their farms take over fragile
spawning grounds and spread diseases and parasites to the wild stock.

Although the moratorium will not be lifted, the B.C. government intends to
allow more than 30 licences for fish farms that are not in use to be moved
to more suitable locations.

The announcement, which could mean an increase of more than 25 percent in
fish-farming operations along the coast, will likely be accompanied by a
commitment of funds for research on environmental problems posed by fish
farming and a commitment to new standards to protect the environment,
sources say.

The NDP government's decision to allow a significant expansion of salmon
farming reflects a seismic shift in the psyche of the province.

B.C. has been closely aligned for decades with the rugged image of fishing
for wild salmon. The image began to shift earlier during the nineties, as
the value of farmed salmon in B.C. surpassed the value of wild salmon and
salmon fishing turned into a highly emotional battleground among fishermen,
the fishing industry and environmentalists.

"Wild Salmon Don't Do Drugs," says a popular bumper sticker on the West
Coast. Fish farms pose a threat to the health of wild salmon stocks and the
coastal waters, environmentalists say.

About 60,000 salmon escape from open pens annually. Aside from fears of the
diseases and parasites these fish might spread, environmentalists are also
concerned about pesticides and fish waste from the farms polluting coastal
waters and about antibiotics in the farmed salmon.

Nevertheless, the NDP government has come under immense pressure lately to
allow expansion of salmon farming operations, especially as coastal
communities see salmon farming as a lifeline during the current economic

Hundreds of fishermen have been without work since the federal government
bought back 50 per cent of the commercial fishing licences on the West Coast
and former fisheries minister David Anderson closed down the lucrative
salmon fishery in some areas of the province.

As well, just hours after his appointment, federal Fisheries Minister Herb
Dhaliwal boldly called for the lifting of the province's ban on salmon

The province currently has about 85 active fish farms, producing about 4.5
per cent of the world's supply of farmed salmon. With annual sales of
$300-million, farmed salmon supports about 2,700 jobs and contributes more
than $600-million to the province's gross domestic product.

A recent Western Economic Diversification study held out the prospect that
growth in the industry could generate 20,000 new jobs, $900-million in
capital investment and $1-billion in annual sales within a decade.

Activists who are against fish farming take a sliver of truth and blow it
out of proportion, Mayor Russ Hellberg, from the north Vancouver Island city
of Port Hardy, said in an interview yesterday. "Salmon is like any other
crop," he said. "You have problems but they are controllable."

Mayor Jim Lornie of Campbell River said expansion of salmon farms would be a
welcome bright spot for coastal communities hit hard by the downturn in the
forest industry and restrictions on wild salmon fishing.


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