The Jobs Myth

One of the most consistent arguments made in favor of continuing the open net-cage salmon farming industry in BC is the value placed on the jobs it provides in coastal communities.

CAAR agrees that jobs and benefits to our communities are extremely important. It is essential that politicians and citizens also give serious consideration to the jobs that are put at risk by the salmon farming industry’s current destructive practices—jobs that vastly outnumber those generated by fish farming.

The weight of peer-reviewed scientific research confirms the serious risks posed to wild salmon and ocean ecosystem health by open net-cage salmon farming. Thousands of jobs depend on the health of our wild salmon and all the species the salmon support. From commercial fishing to wildlife tourism, countless people and communities rely on “Super Natural BC” to provide for their families and futures.

And it is possible we can have both. Moving to closed containment systems for aquaculture has the potential to both protect marine ecosystem health and wild salmon while maintaining jobs in salmon farming by using a more sustainable technology.

True Costs: Jobs

The Economic Impact Study commissioned by the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture investigated all jobs provided by salmon farming in BC and concluded that the total of all direct, indirect and induced jobs in the salmon farming industry is 2,945 (significantly lower than the 6,000 industry claims).

A comparison of the data from the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture found:

  • The salmon farming industry generates an estimated 1,500 full-time equivalent jobs
  • The wild commercial salmon sector, salmon harvesting and salmon processing activities provide approximately1,600 full-time equivalent jobs;
  • The salmon sport fishing sector provided 2,280 full-time jobs.
  • Together the commercial and sport fish industries provided 3,880 direct jobs as compared to 1500 full-time equivalent jobs in the salmon farming sector.

BC Statistics on-line, a BC government agency, reports a total of 14,300 jobs in the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. This number does not include processing jobs in fish plants, many of which are derived from the wild fishery.


References

May 2007 - Final Report, Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia.