New salmon farm proposed in Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, CAAR calls for moratorium on net-cage tenures

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC – Mainstream Canada has submitted a tenure application to the Provincial Government for a new open net-cage salmon farm located in Fortune Channel on the east side of Meares Island. If approved, and then licenced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the site would add about another 600,000 farmed salmon to a “core aquatic protected area” of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Biosphere is meant to encourage sustainable ways to work with the natural environment. By design, net-cage salmon farms do not meet any responsible definition of sustainability nor do they meet the expectations of British Columbians who are consistently calling for the industry to modernize and transition to closed containment technology.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is calling on the Provincial Government to deny this tenure application and to place a permanent moratorium on net-cage tenures in BC.

“In a world seeking solutions, why does Mainstream Canada want to build another problem?” asks Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society and CAAR. “If the Norwegian companies are unwilling to adapt we need our government to step in on behalf of British Columbians to stop the expansion of unsustainable salmon net-cages and push the industry to move into 21st century closed containment.”

This issue will be Christy Clark’s first foray into the salmon farming debate as Premier of B.C. “This application near Plover Point will test Premier Clark’s leadership and determine if she is really here to serve the needs of British Columbians – or if she will cater to the interests of foreign-owned salmon farming companies,” says Michelle Young.

Although the habitat of some watersheds in the Biosphere Reserve remains pristine and untouched by human activity, wild salmon populations are in decline. Sampling of wild juvenile salmon in the reserve correlates increases in sea lice levels to the number of salmon farms the out-migrating wild salmon must pass, just like in every other region in B.C. where sea lice sampling on wild juvenile salmon has taken place. Clayoquot Sound is also an important feeding ground for resident as well as migrating gray whales.

“British Columbians are well-versed in the negative impacts of net-cage salmon farms. Expansion of this technology is illogical and harmful,” says Will Soltau of Living Oceans Society and CAAR. “We hope everyone, including the businesses that depend on healthy marine ecosystems in the Biosphere Reserve, or other areas will contact their MLA and oppose the granting of this or any tenure for new open net-cage salmon farms.”

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See Backgrounder | Update on “Core Area” Designation

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Young, Georgia Strait Alliance, group member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, (250) 667-4568, michelle@georgiastrait.org

Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society, group member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, (250) 973-6580, wsoltau@livingoceans.org