Group praises net-cage permit delays in Canada
A coalition of conservation groups seeking aquaculture reform is praising a decision by the British Columbia provincial government to delay issuing new or expanded tenures for net-cage salmon farms in the Discovery Islands until at least 30 September 2020.
The delay comes from the recommendation of the Cohen inquiry, which investigated the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon. The group, Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), said in a statement that it hopes the federal Canadian government will follow British Columbia’s example.
“This is a step in the right direction and we’re pleased that the province is taking the Cohen report seriously,” said Ruby Berry of the Georgia Strait Alliance, one of CAAR’s member organizations. “It is a recognition that the open net-cage salmon operations pose a risk to the wild salmon passing by and that at the very least the burden should not be increased.”
CAAR member organizations urged the provincial government to expand on its decision.
“It is reasonable to assume that open net-cage salmon farms pose the same risks to wild salmon runs wherever they are, and that if the province is serious about protecting BC wild salmon, the policy would be extended province-wide,” the CAAR statement read.
CAAR indicated a concern over risk of disease and fish lice to wild fish in the area of open-net pens. The group urged government officials to force fish farmers into using land-based recirculating operations instead.