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About the SAFE PASSAGE campaign

Sea lice and disease from salmon farms pose significant risk to wild salmon and the federal agency responsible for the industry (DFO) is letting it happen. Two high profile establishments (the Royal Society of Canada and the Cohen Inquiry) both questioned DFO’s ability to safeguard wild salmon and promote the salmon farming industry at the same time. We know our wild salmon are getting the short end of the stick.

The Cohen Inquiry recommended all the farms in the Discovery Islands (north of Vancouver, near Campbell River) be removed by 2020, unless it can be shown they do not pose more than a “minimal risk of serious harm.” If significant risk is identified before then, the farms should be removed promptly, at the discretion of the Minister of Fisheries. Meanwhile, the scientific evidence keeps mounting, both sea lice and viruses threaten wild fish (1,2). It is time for the Fisheries Minister to accept reality, follow this important recommendation, and order the farms to be removed.

Removing salmon farms along migration routes does not have to mean economic and employment losses. British Columbia could become a leader in farming fish on land in closed-containment farms, if it takes the initiative.

 

This is where we all come in!

The Minister needs to hear from citizens far and wide: the farms in the Discovery Islands need to go! It can take up to two years between the time a farm is stocked and the time fish are harvested. That means for the farms to be removed by 2020, they can’t be restocked after 2017 because their harvesting period could fall after 2020. And it’s unlikely farms would be removed part-way through a growing cycle. Therefore, the Minister of Fisheries needs to come up with a plan in 2017 to disallow stocking in 2018 and 2019 and remove the farms by 2020 at the latest. What is his plan? Is he even working on it? We need to let him know that SAFE PASSAGE for wild salmon is incredibly important to Canadians.

SAFE PASSAGE is a campaign of Watershed Watch Salmon Society. We collaborate with academics, First Nations, and NGOs to highlight the scientific risks of the salmon farming industry. We also engage with the public and government to improve industry management and the protection of wild salmon.

For more information, see www.watershed-watch.org/issues/salmon-farming/.

  1. Godwin, S.C., Dill, L.M., Reynolds, J.D., Krkošek, M. (2015) Sea lice, sockeye salmon, and foraging competition: Lousy fish are lousy competitors. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 72:1113-1120.
  2. Palacios G, Lovoll M, Tengs T, Hornig M, Hutchison S, et al. (2010) Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation of farmed salmon is associated with infection with a novel reovirus. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11487. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011487

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