Mainstream Canada’s bid for a new salmon farm meets strong opposition

June 24, 2011 eNews

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Mainstream Canada’s bid for a new salmon farm meets strong opposition

Mainstream Canada held two open houses last week regarding their tenure application for a salmon farm located in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. CAAR’s Michelle Young attended the Tofino open house and Will Soltau attended the Port Alberni open house. The Tofino council has officially opposed Mainstream Canada’s Plover Point farm and a council member was quoted saying farms should be ‘moving towards closed containment’ rather than applying for another industrial net-cage site.

Meanwhile, in response to Mainstream’s claim in their application that there is “limited life on this section of ocean floor,” which is contrary to what is being reported by a commercial prawn fisherman currently harvesting at the site, an independent video team recently visited the site to film the seabed. (Video shown at right.) The team found an abundance of life within the proposed tenure boundary including prawns, shrimp, flounders, Dungeness crab, Plumose anemone, coral, rockfish, eelpouts, Tube dwelling anemones and more.

So how can we work together to stop this farm? You can submit comments to the provincial government at: until at least July 22, 2011 in opposition to this application. For ideas on what to say, click here to see the comments CAAR has already submitted. To increase the pressure, write or call your MLA to let them know you oppose this application and why.

Please help stop this farm and make it clear to the salmon farming industry that closed containment is the only future for aquaculture in BC.

Closed containment and energy consumption: the facts

The net-cage industry likes to say that closed containment systems create an “extensive carbon footprint” as one excuse for not adopting the technology. It’s true that closed operations require more obvious direct energy to circulate water and dissolved oxygen as well as to remove waste. However, what the industry leaves out of the equation is that the use of ocean currents to perform circulation and waste removal functions on net-cage farms in the open ocean creates a significant environmental footprint. This includes huge amounts of waste smothering the ocean floor and both sea lice and disease spread far and wide with the currents. So when you assess the overall environmental impacts of salmon aquaculture, closed containment is the more sustainable technology.

For a closer look at the environmental impacts of salmon aquaculture practices, the potential solutions, and how closed containment comes out on top, read our new backgrounder: Closed Containment and Energy Consumption.

Update: Stop the ‘organic’ labeling of net-cage farmed salmon

Thank you to those who submitted a comment to the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) and signed our petition calling for Canada’s proposed Organic Aquaculture Standards to meet the basic principles of organic production, and to stop the ‘organic’ labeling of net-cage farmed salmon.

We received almost 1,500 petition signatures by the comment period deadline and many excellent comments from people tired of government neglecting to act in the best interest of the citizenry and failing to protect our shared ecosystem.

We submitted the petition and comments, along with this formal comment, to the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) for their review. The review process can take a while – it took 9 months for the CGSB to get the second draft out after the first round of public comments. However, we will be tracking the process and we will let you know the results and any next steps we may need to take if the final standards still don’t measure up.

Thanks for standing up for the integrity of the organic label, and against the unsustainable practice of net-cage salmon farming!

Help keep net-cage farmed salmon off the BBQ this summer!

Summer is here, let the afternoons at the beach and the backyard parties begin! And when it’s time to fire up the BBQ, let your guests know why the salmon you’re grilling is wild, not farmed – unless you’re serving Sweet Spring closed containment farmed salmon from Overwaitea of course!

If you’re the guest and net-cage farmed salmon is on the menu – don’t hesitate to explain to your host/hostess why you’re only having salad. Sometimes folks just don’t know. Once they hear about how net-cage farmed salmon is produced you might just have to order a pizza for everyone instead!

Of course refusing food is awkward but with so much on the line, can we let social conventions mute what we really believe is the right thing to do? What do you think?