Webinar: Briefing and discussion on DFO’s draft Pacific regulations for salmon farming

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Webinar: Briefing and discussion on DFO’s draft Pacific regulations for salmon farming

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform has analyzed the draft regulations and is preparing formal comment. Hosts Catherine Stewart and David Lane with lawyer Karen Wristen will walk through the draft, highlighting CAAR’s concerns and recommendations. To be followed by a Q and A and discussion period where we can learn from each other and share insights, analysis and ideas.

When: Thursday, August 19 at 1:00 p.m. PDT
Who: Living Oceans Society and T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation
To register for this webinar, please reply to david@salmonsupporters.org and login details will be sent to you.

Global salmon farming standards have a long way to go on sustainability imperative

Global standards intended to measure and identify environmentally and socially responsible salmon farming practices were released in draft on August 3rd for public comment. As a potential vehicle to help push the salmon farming industry towards increasing sustainability, CAAR became involved in the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues (SAD) in 2004 along with three other ENGOs and five industry groups. CAAR and all participants put enormous effort into this process, but many of the standards aimed at reducing or eliminating the ecological and social impacts of salmon farming on a global scale are not yet adequately addressed in the draft due to the differing interests of the stakeholders.

As written, the draft requires stronger standards to ensure:

  1. greater environmental protection for wild salmon and the marine environment from net pen aquaculture operations.
  2. the ability of communities to control the negative impacts of net pen aquaculture on residents and existing industries.
  3. that operations incorporate the full cost of doing business rather than letting the environment bear the cost.
  4. that the standard does not undermine the successes of CAAR and many others to protect wild salmon and the environment.

The public comment period is open until October 3rd, 2010 and we urge concerned citizens to review the standards document and submit comments that support meaningful and effective salmon aquaculture standards. CAAR’s own submission to the public comment period will be available on the website later this month. Read our recent media release on the draft standards.

Click here for more on the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues (SAD).

Industry thwarts sea lice and disease audit by refusing to give tissue samples to the BC government

As of April 1, 2010, salmon farms have refused to volunteer or make available tissue samples for government fish health and sea lice monitoring audits, proving the complete failure of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands’ voluntary compliance strategy.

Not only does this effectively block the government from being able to perform its function as a regulatory body, the provincial government has done nothing to force salmon farmers to comply with the government audit. The BC Salmon Farmers Associations says they are going to provide samples to a third-party auditor, but so far no system has been set up and even if it is, it does not replace the need for government oversight of disease and sea lice on fish farms.

This comes as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is drafting new Pacific aquaculture regulations in which they promise increased transparency as one of the key aspects of the new regulations. In a backgrounder accompanying the draft regulation, DFO pledges to manage aquaculture in “an open and transparent manner” with  “…greater visibility of compliance efforts, increased public reporting of compliance and environmental performance data.” But nothing in the proposed regulation actually spells out how greater transparency will be achieved.

“Up till now there has been no transparency and virtually no enforceable regulation of disease and sea lice on salmon farms” says CAAR’s David Lane of T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. “We hope DFO takes it’s wild salmon protection mandate seriously and adopts a transparent and enforceable system, but so far all we have are promises, not new measures spelled out in their draft regulation.”

Farm-specific sea lice and disease information is critical so that government and independent scientists can conduct a thorough analysis of lice and disease levels to see if they correlate with increased lice and disease on wild juvenile salmon and localized wild salmon declines.

With DFO’s proposed Pacific Aquaculture Regulations now open for public comment, this is an excellent opportunity to demand that the government deliver on its promises to properly manage the aquaculture industry in an open and transparent manner.

Read the recent media release put out by T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and Ecojustice on the issue.