Action Alert: Half a million more farmed fish put in path of migrating salmon, help us fight back!

Also in this issue:

Action Alert: Half a million more farmed fish put in path of migrating salmon, help us fight back!

Net-cage salmon farm in the Broughton Archipelago

500,000 Atlantic farmed salmon have been added to a previously inactive farm along a sensitive wild salmon migration route in the Georgia Strait. Marine Harvest Canada’s Conville Bay farm, a site that had been dormant for over three years, has been sub-leased to Grieg Seafood and is now in the process of being re-activated.

Five other salmon farms had already posed a significant threat to wild salmon in this area, known as the Wild Salmon Narrows (WSN) in the Okisollo and Hoskyn Channels.  Now there will be six. Read our media release »

The WSN is an important migration route for many species and stocks of wild salmon including Fraser River Sockeye. In 2009, a think tank of scientists gathered at Simon Fraser University to discuss the collapse of that year’s sockeye salmon run and the possible causes for that collapse. They recommended that farms sited along major salmon migration routes be experimentally shut down.  Instead of doing that, the industry is increasing production along this key route.  This is unconscionable.

Of significant concern is that fact in just a few short months the offspring of the collapsed 2009 Fraser River sockeye will be migrating through this area.

Help CAAR in the campaign to clear the Wild Salmon Narrows of net-cage salmon farms by joining the WSN Spring Cleaning Crew – a new citizen action team dedicated to protecting wild salmon from salmon farming impacts and committed to taking action on a regular basis. Our aim is to create more opportunities for concerned citizens to collaborate, increase outreach to MPs, and collectively ramp up the pressure on fish farms and government. Learn more and sign up here!

Take action now! Send a post card to Marine Harvest Canada, Mainstream Canada and Grieg Seafood demanding they vacate the Wild Salmon Narrows for failure to operate responsibly in public waters. You can also send a post card to Randy Kamp, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) demanding that all farms vacate the migration route now.

BC’s first commercial-scale closed containment salmon farm under construction

AgriMarine floating salmon tank. Photo: AgriMarine

Acceptance of closed containment technology as a more sustainable alternative to harmful net-cage operations has grown rapidly over the last several years – despite the net-cage industry’s best efforts to downplay and refute its benefits. Today, a number of small-scale closed containment farms are in production with more in the planning stages and just this week, closed containment salmon farming on a commercial-scale took a giant step forward in BC.

Local closed containment technology leader AgriMarine Inc. installed the first of four solid-wall floating tanks that will be used to farm Chinook and coho salmon at Middle Bay near Campbell River. CAAR has supported AgriMarine’s efforts to realize this project since its inception and celebrates the installation of this first tank as a significant milestone in the transition towards more sustainable salmon farming practices.

For more on this exciting development, read our media release »

CAAR members co-author new paper confirming farmed salmon amplify sea lice in coastal waters

Just weeks after an unconvincing report was released attempting to dismiss previous science that strongly suggests sea lice from salmon farms harm wild salmon, two other studies were published adding to the weight of evidence that sea lice are amplified by salmon farms and they do harm wild salmon populations.

Dynamics of outbreak and control of salmon lice on two salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia, is co-authored by CAAR’s Craig Orr and Stan Proboszcz of Watershed Watch Salmon Society (WWSS). Published in the on‐line journal Aquaculture Environment Interactions, the peer-reviewed paper confirms that farmed salmon can significantly amplify sea lice in coastal waters of BC, and that controlling lice outbreaks presents substantial challenges to industry, regulators, and salmon conservationists.

Read the paper » Read WWSS’s media release »

Sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) infestations and the productivity of pink salmon (Onchorhynchus gorbuscha) in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia, Canada is authored by Martin Krkosek (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Ray Hilborn (University of Washington).  This paper was published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and reconfirms the link between sea lice from salmon farms and declines in pink salmon populations, while taking into account the effects of fishing. Read the paper »

Canada’s East Coast reporting massive farmed fish escapes, calling for closed containment

In December 138,000 juvenile farmed salmon escaped from net-cage operations in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick. 33,000 also escaped at the end of November and 13,000 escaped from a farm in October bringing the total to 184,000 escapes into the Bay of Fundy during the last quarter of 2010.  This has prompted the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) to call upon government for changes to aquaculture regulation to protect populations of wild Atlantic salmon (at critically low levels in the Bay of Fundy region) and prevent farmed salmon from escaping. The ASF stated that: “The best solution to the problem of escapes would be to locate salmon farms on land.”

On the east coast there are three land-based farms raising Arctic char, halibut and sea bass but the salmon farming industry has yet to adopt this innovative technology. Given the enormous problems with open net-cage salmon farming on both the east and west coasts, it’s clear that federal investment in closed containment technology would be welcomed by concerned citizens and wild salmon supporters in both Pacific and Atlantic communities.

A reminder: Contact your MP to ask for federal funding for closed containment!

Canadians! The 2011 federal budget will be tabled this spring so if you haven’t already, contact your MP asking him or her to support federal funding for closed containment pilot projects. This funding is long, long overdue. Government support for this emerging green technology can fast track its development and the transition to a more sustainable aquaculture industry in BC and Atlantic Canada.