Cohen Inquiry turns focus to aquaculture in August

July 29, 2011 eNews

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Cohen Inquiry turns focus to aquaculture in August

The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River will begin evidentiary hearings on the issue of aquaculture next month. Evidentiary hearings began in October 2010 and have already covered such issues as the Fraser sockeye life cycle, perspectives on conservation, sustainability and stewardship, enforcement, Aboriginal law as it relates to the sockeye fishery as well as the organizational structure, science and funding of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

But it’s the aquaculture hearings – slated for August 22nd to September 9th – that are the most anticipated and potentially the most controversial and revealing hearings of the inquiry.

CAAR members will be in attendance throughout the hearings and we will be sure to keep you informed of breaking news and opportunities for action.

Salmon farm opposition turns into legal battle in Nova Scotia

In a recent blog post, we covered the Nova Scotia government’s approval of two huge new industrial-scale salmon farms in St. Mary’s Bay, near the Bay of Fundy – as well as the subsequent opposition to these farms by fishermen, conservationists and concerned citizens.

A coalition of villages, environmental and fishing groups is now taking legal action against the government in an attempt to stop the development. They argue “the feedlots, which would stock almost two million fish, would devastate local tourism and traditional fishing industries.” In fact, a CBC online poll asking ‘Should there be two large salmon farms at St. Mary’s Bay?’ shows 71% say no, 25.5%7 say yes, and 3.52% are unsure. Read more here.

The lawsuit is directed at the Nova Scotia government rather than New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture (who would build the salmon farms) because the coalition is looking for more stringent regulations on salmon farming.

Here on the west coast, the public comment period for Mainstream Canada’s application for a new salmon farm in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve has now been extended to August 12th. If you haven’t already, you can submit comments to the provincial government at: in opposition to this application and any new open net-cage fish farms. Be sure to put, ‘Plover Point Land File #1413555’ in the subject line of your emails.

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.

Closed containment salmon headed to Chinese markets; new closed system technology developed in Israel

Grow Fish Anywhere tanks

Vancouver-based closed containment leaders AgriMarine Inc. have announced the harvest of the company’s first crop of Chinook salmon ever reared in solid-wall closed containment in the People’s Republic of China.” This exciting milestone further proves that more sustainably raised farmed salmon can be produced on a commercial scale in closed systems. The company expects to harvest its first crop of Chinook salmon from its British Columbia farm in Middle Bay in the summer of 2012.

Israeli marine biologists have also developed a closed containment aquaculture system, Grow Fish Anywhere, that can raise both fresh and sea water fish. The company says the technology can be used anywhere in the world “regardless of climate or proximity to sources of water,” boasts zero waste discharge, as well as very little water use through re-circulation. Watch a video on the technology!

Closed containment farmed salmon, cooked to perfection

There’s a small, land-based closed containment farm located in Agassiz, British Columbia that produces a very tasty coho salmon for select Vancouver restaurants. Executive Chef Rob Clark at C Restaurant makes the most of the salmon with this tasty recipe from his cookbook C Food.

Thanks to Chef Clark, you can try it at home!


glazed squash | fresh flageolets | thyme-scented olive oil | Oncorhynchus kisutch | Serves 4 | Serve with Pinot Blanc, New World


  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches thyme
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash, blanched
  • 1shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh flageolet beans, blanched
  • ½ cup peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chicken stock


  • 4 coho fillets (each 6 ounces)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • To prepare the thyme-scented olive oil, heat the oil, thyme and bay leaves in a saucepan until the oil registers 194°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the oil stand at room temperature for 5 hours. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
  • To prepare the glazed squash and flageolets, sauté the squash and shallot in 4 teaspoons of the thyme-fused olive oil until the shallot is soft and translucent. Add the flageolet beans, apple and butter, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and reduce until the vegetables are glazed and the chicken stock has a saucelike consistency.
  • To prepare the pan-seared coho, season the fillets with salt and pepper to taste and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Place the coho fillets, skin side down, in the skillet and cook until the skin is crisp. Flip the fillets over and cook for about 1 second. The fish should still be a touch undercooked in the center.
  • To serve, mound the glazed squash and flageolets on 4 plates and top each with a coho fillet. Drizzle with a little thyme-scented olive oil.