New research furthers case against net-cage fish farms while fisheries minister defends status-quo on Norwegian junket

For Immediate Release
August 10, 2005

Canada’s claims to sustainable, ecologically responsible salmon farm management are being challenged again by peer-reviewed science just published in the North American Journal for Fisheries Management. The research, by BC biologist Alexandra Morton and co-author Dr. Rick Routledge of Simon Fraser University, shows that fallowing open net-cage farms can lead to a dramatic reduction in sea lice infestations, which can devastate juvenile wild salmon.

While the evidence continues to mount that wild fish are being negatively affected by net cage fish farms, the Canadian Minister responsible for safeguarding wild fish is oversees supporting these practices. Minister Geoff Regan, accompanied by a 100 member delegation is attending Aqua Nor, the world’s largest aquaculture trade show held every two years in Trondheim, Norway. Canada is the featured country this year and the Minister is using the conference to promote his government’s unwarranted claims to sustainability in the open net-cage fish farming industry.

“Minister Regan’s unwillingness to inconvenience the industry is going to destroy our wild salmon legacy as well as the salmon farming industry itself. He is the guy who should be protecting our wild fish – not acting like a salesman for the global aquaculture industry,” said Ms. Morton.

Alexandra Morton is a biologist in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago, the traditional territory of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council (MTTC) nations and an area that has become the epicentre for opposition to net cage fish farming due to the high rates of parasitic sea lice infections on wild fish.
The research by Morton and Routledge shows that when fish farms are fallowed (emptied of fish for several months during wild salmon migrations) sea lice infections in the wild stocks drop dramatically and wild salmon survival increases.

Chief Bill Cranmer, Chair of the MTTC explained , “If we had been invited to this Aqua Nor conference, we could have told everyone about the many problems we have experienced with the fish farm industry: the sea lice infestation that is destroying our pink salmon runs and the contamination of our clam beaches and surrounding environment.

We invite members of the Canadian delegation to the Broughton Archipelago to see what is happening first hand”.

“Canadians and our oceans would be better served if the Federal government invested in solutions for the aquaculture industry such as closed tank systems,” said Jay Ritchlin of the David Suzuki Foundation. “Instead, the Minister is spending taxpayers’ money on hollow public relations efforts that deny the real problems of open net-cage fish farms. We call on Minister Regan to order a fallow in the Broughton for the 2006 salmon migration while we work out longer term solutions.”


For further information please contact:

Alexandra Morton, Raincoast Research 250- 949-1664

Chief Bill Cranmer, Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council 250-974-8460

Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation 604-732-4228

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