Salmon Aquaculture (smolt)

Salmon farm restocking threatens wild salmon migration route

April 28, 2011                                                     

VANCOUVER -Mainstream Canada is restocking their Venture Point salmon farm in Okisollo Channel. With the recent reactivation of the Conville Bay farm in HoskynChannel (sublet by Grieg Seafood from Marine Harvest), the big three salmon farm companies in BC are ignoring the desperate need for an emergency migration route in the Wild Salmon Narrows.  The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), with support from fifty-two organizations and thousands of people, have been calling for this critical migration corridor to be permanently cleared of net-cage salmon farms as a first step towards the removal of all net-cages and a transition to closed containment. The recent reactivation of the Conville Bay salmon farm along with the restocking of Venture Point, adds insult to injury by the big three companies as they continue to ignore the need to protect wild salmon from the impacts of their harmful net-cages.

"This industry continues to deny any harm from their net-cages, despite evidence to the contrary", says Michelle Young of Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) and CAAR. "In addition to the weight of scientific evidence of impacts on pink, chum and coho, they ignore the growing evidence of impacts on Fraser River sockeye while their industry is included in the ongoing Sockeye Inquiry as a potential cause of the 2009 collapse." Despite ongoing calls to clear the area of salmon farms, the companies operating in the Wild Salmon Narrows continue to restock farms along this route putting profits ahead of precaution.

"This route is critical to so many runs of salmon, including Fraser River sockeye that must swim a gauntlet of sea lice and potential disease outbreaks," says David Fields of GSA and CAAR. "Restocking of these farms delays clearing this critical migration route, and next year these farms will pose an even greater threat when they hold adult fish which typically have higher lice loads."

This critical migration corridor is along Okisollo and Hoskyn Channels to the north and east of Quadra Island. The call for a farm-free migratory corridor is supported by a recommendation of the convened scientists from a Simon Fraser University think tank; the scientists recommended the experimental removal of salmon farms from wild salmon migration routes following the 2009 Fraser River sockeye collapse.

GSA and CAAR are working to provide immediate emergency relief for wild salmon from the impacts of open net-cage aquaculture, while continuing efforts to transition the salmon farming industry to closed containment technology.

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For more information, please contact:

Michelle Young, Georgia Strait Alliance, a group member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform
(604)633-0530, michelle@georgiastrait.org

David Fields, Georgia Strait Alliance, a group member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform
(604) 722-4775, david@georgiastrait.org