The Role of Government
At present, Canada’s federal government and the BC provincial government both support, promote and favour the expansion of the open net-cage salmon aquaculture industry. Despite abundant scientific evidence that use of this technology is unsustainable and is implicated in the decline of wild salmon stocks and other environmental hazards not just in BC, but worldwide, both governments continue to advocate for and support the expansion of open net-cages.
- In 2004, the CAAR member group Georgia Strait Alliance published a government report card assessing the regulation of salmon farming in BC, its successes, failures and shortcomings. In 2007, the team updated the report card and found BC still sadly lacking in the development of sustainable salmon farming. The government has never responded to the recommendations.
- In 2004, the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, involving representatives of the international salmon farming industry and non-governmental organizations such as CAAR, commissioned a series of independent technical assessments, including one on chemical and antibiotic use in the global industry. The BC salmon aquaculture industry’s shortcomings are clearly documented in the Executive Summary of this report.
- The BC government repeatedly claims to be leading the world in salmon aquaculture management and standards. However, a report commissioned by the provincially funded BC Pacific Salmon Forum (PSF) challenges that claim. The report, B.C. Finfish Aquaculture Regulation: An Information Review and Progress Report by Gareth Porter gave BC an average overall score of 5.1 out of 10.
- In 2007, CAAR submitted a full budget briefing and encouraged the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Provincial government to establish the Closed System Aquaculture Innovation and Development Fund. This $10 million fund would provide investment to entrepreneurs who demonstrate the ability to build and operate closed system salmon aquaculture projects. Government support would enable private operators to prove systems without carrying the full costs and without forcing existing businesses into an immediate, capital-intensive transition to technology with which they are not familiar.
- The 2008, 2009 and 2010 Provincial budgets did not contain any funding commitments for closed containment. We made a further submission to the 2011 Provincial budget process.
CAAR believes our government and citizens can demonstrate to the world that BC is advancing technological innovation and securing economic opportunity in aquaculture while still accepting responsibility for the health of our environment and the future of our wild salmon. For more information see our Policy Reform and Ecological Fiscal Reform pages.
Investment and support on the part of government is an essential requirement, as is the case with most emerging green technologies, to fully establish a closed containment aquaculture industry. Contact your MLA or federal MP today to ask that development funds be allocated to closed containment technology.