Thursday, May 17, 2007

BC Told To Halt Salmon Farms

In a strong and bold move, the BC Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture (i.e. salmon farming) is calling for a permanent ban on fish farms on BC's north coast and a move to compulsory closed-pen farming within five years.

The industry would be given three years to develop the new systems, and another two years to phase them in. That would mean an end to open-net fish farms within five years.

Not surprisingly, the salmon farming industry has responded with predictable rage scare mongering while providing no real evidence to counter the committee's recommendations.

It's as if you were listening to a climate change denier talk about salmon farming.

For years the risks of open-net salmon farming have been well documented, particularly in Europe where the practice has been used for much longer than in BC. These range from the spreading of parasitic lice, the polluting of seabed floors with fish sewage, the irresponsible use of antibiotics, and thousands of documented cases of foreign Atlantic salmon escaping and surviving in Pacific waters.

The salmon farming industry's response has been typical of corporate propaganda. Scientific evidence is ignored and dismissed while no genuine evidence to the contrary is presented. Instead, industry touts the jobs created by their unsustainable business, and the so called "health benefits" of eating farmed salmon. This point is particularly misleading given that farmed salmon are so laden with cancer causing PCBs that they are the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the current U.S. food supply. Generally it is recommended that adults eat no more than one serving per month. There are no such concerns with wild species.

However, the industry's lobby group - the BC Association of Salmon Farmers - does offer a handy selection of recipes on their website. Substitute your favorite species of wild salmon and bon appetite!

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