CAAR applauds Strathcona Regional District’s denial of zoning for Grieg Seafood Gunner Point open net-cage salmon farm

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2010

CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – Member groups of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) are pleased that the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) has denied zoning to Grieg Seafood for a massive new open net-cage salmon farm at Gunner Point in the northern Georgia Strait area.

“This decision is the first step in reducing the burden on wild salmon not only from this area, but all juvenile salmon that migrate through the northern Georgia Strait”, according to Michelle Young of Georgia Strait Alliance. “There is great concern that Fraser River sockeye may be infected with lice from net-cage salmon farms in this area, so it is essential that the regional government continue to act to restrict the proliferation of open net-cages on a migration route of so many important salmon runs.”

Conditions were previously applied to the Gunner Point zoning in an attempt to leverage the industry toward closed containment. Although the remoteness of Gunner Point is not an ideal site for a closed containment facility, the SRD has sent a very strong message that closed containment is the only acceptable direction for the salmon aquaculture industry in BC.

CAAR member groups, along with hundreds of local citizens concerned about the effects of open net cage salmon farms, participated in two public hearings and made numerous written submissions expressing serious concerns about the likely impacts of expanding the open net- cage salmon farm industry.

“We commend the SRD for exercising their responsibility to protect the marine environment from net-cage salmon farms, consistent with the expressed concerns of their constituents and their call for both Provincial and Federal governments to transition the salmon farming industry to closed containment technology,” commented Will Soltau of Living Oceans Society.

“The SRD recognizes the importance of wild salmon to BC’s economy, as well as the importance of promoting sustainable aquaculture alternatives,” adds Young. “We look forward to continuing our work with industry, the SRD, and all levels of government, to phase out environmentally destructive net-cage farms and to foster the development of a vibrant, newly-emerging closed containment aquaculture industry in BC.”

- 30 –

For more information please contact:

Michelle Young, Georgia Strait Alliance (250) 757-8464
michelle@georgiastrait.org

Ruby Berry, Georgia Strait Alliance (250) 218-6818
ruby@georgiastrait.org

Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society (250) 973-6580 Ext: 203
wsoltau@livingoceans.org