Last week, Greenpeace joined Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS), Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, Living Oceans Society, Georgia Strait Alliance, Wilderness Committee, T. Buck Suzuki Foundation, and the David Suzuki Foundation in calling on Premier Christy Clark to hold off on a decision to put another salmon farm in Clayoquot Sound. Amidst controversy surrounding disease outbreaks in the area, Greenpeace believes such an approval would be incredibly irresponsible, given what's at stake - the future of wild salmon.
Following a visit to Clayoquot Sound last fall, I wrote on the horror show that had become synonymous with Canada's aquaculture industry. Since then, the industry has been unable to prove us wrong, with numerous disease outbreaks further fuelling opposition in a growing number of communities from coast to coast. The plea to government has been clear - no more salmon farms at the expense of wild marine life. Now its the BC government's chance to show they are willing to take a stand for our wild salmon and already stressed marine ecosystems. While Transport Canada has already given its stamp of approval, the final ok rests in the hands of the Province and Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
FOCS sent a joint letter, pasted below, to Premier Clark and launched an online petition urging people to request that she deny the application. Click here to add your voice to help keep it wild in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and keep salmon farms out!
Open net-pen farmed salmon is found on Greenpeace's Redlist of harmfully fished or farmed species. We've been pushing major buyers of this product to stop selling it and search for more sustainable alternatives. This year's ranking of Canada's eight largest supermarket chains on the sustainability of their seafood found Overwaitea Food Group (OFG) with top marks, in part due to the company's removal of all net-pen farmed salmon from stores. With other big retailers also seeking alternatives, it is clear that the market is beginning to reject this product and instead of granting new applications, the Feds and Provincial governments should start figuring out how to transition this industry out of our marine environments.
Urge your supermarket chain to stop selling net-pen farmed salmon and provide greener seafood for its customers by clicking the take action button here.
See the joint letter below:
18 July, 2012
The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Box 9041, Stn PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1
Re: Application for a new salmon farm tenure at Plover Point, Meares Island,
Clayoquot Sound, Land File # 141355
Dear Premier Clark,
We are writing today to express concerns over the proposed new salmon farm at Plover Point
in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The proponent for this application,
Mainstream Canada, is applying for a 55-hectare salmon farm tenure on the shores of Meares
Island, near Plover Point.
Wild salmon in the region are in serious trouble. Despite the abundance of pristine salmon
habitat, Clayoquot's salmon runs (especially the Chinook) are in dramatic decline, with some
runs now being counted in the tens, rather than in the tens of thousands. Clayoquot Sound
already has 20 salmon farm sites. No wild salmon population anywhere in the world has
thrived in close proximity to salmon farms.
In May of this year, Mainstream reported an outbreak of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis
virus (IHN) on one of their open net-cage salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound. The fish from
this farm, numbering 560,000 were destroyed. Another Mainstream farm showed a weak
positive. These fish were harvested for market. IHN is endemic to wild Pacific fish, and at
low concentrations is not deadly to them. However salmon farms amplify diseases like this,
much like in a crowded hospital, and pathogens that are normally not an issue can become
Dr. Kristi Miller, Head of the Molecular Genetics section at the Pacific Biological Station,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), reported Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv)
positive test results in 2 other Clayoquot Sound salmon farms last year. While not confirmed
by further testing, this should be done before another farm is approved.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began a two-year, coast-wide surveillance
program this spring to get a more complete picture of the ISAv, IHN, and infectious
pancreatic necrosis (IPN) situation in British Columbia’s wild salmon. All of these diseases
are highly contagious and can cause mortality in wild and farmed salmon.
Furthermore the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser
River (Cohen Commission) is scheduled to release its findings September 30. Justice Cohen's
recommendations may well affect how salmon farming is conducted in B.C.
For these reasons and more, we the undersigned respectfully request that the Province decide
not to issue the seabed lease for Plover Point, at least until the CFIA has completed its study
and the recommendations of the Cohen Commission have been incorporated into management
We look forward to hearing your response at your earliest convenience.
Bonny Glambeck, Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada
Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society
Ruby Berry, Georgia Strait Alliance
Torrance Coste, Wilderness Committee
David Lane, T. Buck Suzuki Foundation
John Werring, David Suzuki Foundation
cc: Adrian Dix, NDP Leader of the Official Opposition
The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans