Salmon farming standards unveiled at Boston Seafood Show labeled weak and unenforceable by BC environmental groups

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2006

VANCOUVER, BC – The nine member groups of the British Columbia-based Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) today criticized new salmon farming performance “standards” announced this morning during the Boston Seafood Show. CAAR groups are calling the standards weak and unenforceable.

CAAR believes the “standards” being promoted do little more than re- brand as “sustainable” the status-quo practices of industrial open net- cage salmon farming and tacitly endorse the impacts these operations have on ocean ecosystems and wild salmon in B.C. Scientists documenting how sea lice from salmon farms are killing off large numbers of wild juvenile salmon in B.C. were not consulted or involved in the shaping of the new “standards” for aquaculture industry operations.

“This effort failed to develop meaningful standards. However it does demonstrate that consumers and responsible retailers alike recognize farmed salmon are an unsustainable product and are seeking solutions,” said Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society, a CAAR member group. “Unfortunately, such a weak approach will only hamper current initiatives aimed at achieving sustainable salmon farming practices and may seriously mislead consumers into thinking open-net cage industrial farming practices are tolerable.”

CAAR identified serious flaws in the standards, including the absence of verification systems, erroneous assumptions about the management of industrial meal fisheries and feed conversion ratios, the lack of chain-of-custody systems, failure to comprehend issues around escape levels and an overall failure of the standards to require or mandate meaningful change.

“These unfortunately weak standards only serve to mislead the public into thinking open net-cage salmon farms are actually meeting strict sustainability standards when in fact they are not. More consultation and dialogue is required with local groups and scientists in order to establish a truly rigorous set of sustainability standards for farmed salmon,” said Bill Wareham of the David Suzuki Foundation, a CAAR member organization.

“The promotion of inadequate standards sends the wrong message to B.C. salmon farming companies,” said Dom Repta of Friends of Clayoquot Sound. “These standards suggest current production practices are acceptable when they are far from it. The standards are woefully inadequate and dangerous to wild salmon and the coastal communities that depend on healthy wild fish stocks and the jobs they provide.”

For more information please contact:

Catherine Stewart, Living Oceans Society: 604-696-5044 or cel: 604- 916-6722

Bill Wareham, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-732-4228

Dom Repta, Friends of Clayoquot Sound: 604-699-0065

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