2007 salmon farming industry compliance report misses major concerns

For Immediate Release
July 10, 2008

Sointula, BC – Living Oceans Society criticized the provincial government report on salmon farm compliance as missing the point by failing to address the industry’s fundamental problems. Inadequate regulations governing BC’s salmon farming industry means that salmon farms’ impact on the environment is not taken into account.

“The industry scored high on measures that fail to address issues like escapes and the spread of sea lice, disease and waste into the marine environment,” said Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society’s Salmon Farming Campaign Local Coordinator. “The ineffectiveness of provincial regulations was made clear this month when 30,000 fish escaped from a salmon farm and fewer than 1.5 percent were retrieved. What is the use of having regulations that cannot control the major environmental impacts like escapes and sea lice?”

Active salmon farms are supposed to be checked by ministry staff randomly every year. While infractions could result in prosecutions, fines or even suspension of an aquaculture license, most often warnings are issued and very few fines have ever been imposed.

“This report deals specifically with the compliance of industry with their aquaculture licenses, but in the north Vancouver Island area the marine debris from salmon farms suggests that the industry’s compliance is far below what the government’s report claims,” said Soltau.

Living Oceans Society launched a new initiative called the “Eyes and Ears Campaign” this summer.

“We are asking people on the water and in the coastal communities to help us inform the provincial government about the true level of industry compliance by reporting the things they observe around salmon farms to us,” said Soltau. “If fishermen, mariners or the boating public see or hear of anything they feel is negligent or irresponsible, or if they catch an Atlantic salmon, we want to know about it.”

Living Oceans Society will verify the evidence and compile a summary to present to the Minister. People who are interested in participating can contact Will Soltau at the LOS office in Sointula.

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For more information please contact:

Will Soltau, Phone: (250) 973-6580, Local Coordinator, Salmon Farming Campaign, Living Oceans Society