Bloody effluent from salmon farming in Canada drawing protests

Published on
December 4, 2017

Activists are calling for the Canadian government to impose stricter controls on the pumping of wastewater from farmed salmon processing facilities after video surfaced of a processing plant on Vancouver Island pumping potentially harmful “blood water” into wild salmon migratory routes. 

Canada’s CTV News published underwater footage of bloody effluent flowing from a pipe about 100 feet beneath the surface Brown’s Bay. The waste water comes from nearby from Brown’s Bay Packing Co., a farmed Atlantic salmon processing facility, and flows into Discovery Passage, a migratory corridor for Pacific salmon.

According to CTV News, tests by scientists have shown that the waste water contains a virus that is linked to heart lesions and organ hemorrhaging in wild fish.

Brown’s Bay plant manager Dave Stover told CTV that the effluent pipe is permitted through the province. The watchdog SumOfUs thinks it should not be, and is calling on Canada’s minister of fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc, to ban the dumping of the effluent.

“LeBlanc can stop this needless contamination immediately by changing the Fisheries Act to ban the dumping of infectious waste,” said a statement issued by SumOfUs.

The fish that are being processed at Brown’s Bay come from a nearby fish farm run by Cermaq. Headquartered in Norway, Cermaq raises fish in Norway and Chile as well as Canada’s Vancouver Island and is among the world’s largest producers of farmed salmon and trout.

SumOfUs said Norway, which has a significant farmed salmon industry, prohibits the dumping of effluent from fish processing, but Canada does not. The organization said some viruses and sea lice carried by farmed Atlantic salmon could be contributing to the decline of wild Pacific salmon. 

Contributing Editor reporting from Seattle, USA

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