Canadian, Chilean Delegation Presses Salmon-Farming Industry


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 26, 2008

A delegation of Canadian and Chilean environmentalists, tourism officials and Native Americans visited Oslo, Norway, last week to protest the state of the salmon-farming industries in Canada, Chile and Norway.

The delegation, which included representatives from the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, Pure Salmon Campaign, Wilderness Tourism Association and Canada's Inuit and Chile's Mapuche-Huilliche native populations, pressed for changes at Cermaq's shareholder meeting on May 22.

They claim sea lice from Norwegian-owned salmon farms, such as Cermaq and Marine Harvest, are killing wild salmon stocks in Canada and Chile. They pointed to a recent report in the peer-reviewed journal Science that found wild salmon in British Columbia's Broughton Archipelago region will be driven to the brink of extinction within four years unless the threat from salmon farms is addressed.

However, at Cermaq's shareholder meeting Norwegian ministry spokesman Reier Søberg rejected the delegation's resolution urging new ethical guidelines. He said the government is in the process of revising ethical guidelines that apply to all companies the ministry has invested in, and that separate rules for Cermaq are therefore not necessary. He did not say when the new guidelines will be completed.

Cermaq corporate affairs spokeswoman Lise Bergan said there is no evidence that the company is responsible for declines in wild salmon stocks.

"We follow the Canadian standards for sea lice, and conduct lice tests every second week with findings that are reported to the Canadian government. According to Canadian rules there shouldn't be more than three lice per fish, and our findings indicate that we are well below that," she told Inter Press Service, a Rome-based news agency.

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