There is a growing level of concern among anglers, those in the environmental community and First Nations about the federal government’s plans to allow the establishment of new salmon farms in BC. We’ve discussed this over the years and recently encouraged participation in a petition started by Alexandra Morton urging the province to block these plans.
The SFI has traditionally focused its advocacy efforts on issues regarding fisheries access, allocation, licensing and science. While the vast majority of our members oppose expanded net-pen salmon farming, we’ve made the strategic decision to follow the work of the many groups who are primarily focused on salmon farming and support and endorse rather than duplicate their efforts.
• The SFI board of directors adopted a formal policy in 2003, urging the federal and provincial governments to adopt the precautionary principle and ensure that they were not licensing fish farming activities that could impact wild fish stocks.
• We have communicated this view to federal and provincial politicians and senior civil servants in writing and during our frequent meetings with them.
• We invited Craig Orr and Alexandra Morton to make formal presentations at both our BOD meetings and at our annual industry policy conference....a conference, incidentally that is well attended by the senior decision makers from both the federal and provincial governments.
• We made a formal presentation to the provincial legislature’s special committee reviewing finfish aquaculture and urged the committee to establish a clear scientific consensus on the issue and provide recreational anglers with assurances that wild stocks were not being placed at risk by fish farming activities.
• We supported the development of new closed containment technology aimed at eliminating the threat of disease and/or lice transfer between farmed and wild fish stocks. While that project was ultimately unsuccessful, it will undoubtedly help to inform the next generation of closed containment projects.
We expect that in the coming months there will be additional opportunities to voice our concerns about open-net-pen salmon farming, and we will keep you apprised of them as they develop. We plan to continue with the approach that both as an organization, and as individuals who care passionately about sport fishing, we will add our voices to those calling for the protection of our wild salmon stocks.