The salmon farming industry in BC is once again challenging the authority of the Minister of Fisheries to make decisions about whether or not its feedlots should continue to be located in open ocean settings. Their first successful court challenge overturned Minister Bernadette Jordan’s 2020 decision to close down open-net operations. Now, in 2023, Minister Joyce Murray’s similar decision is also being challenged. For perspective, this challenge invites a review of the history of salmon farming in BC’s waters.
When corporate salmon farming arrived in a relatively pristine British Columbia, the marine wilderness was already occupied by many native species. The farms were totally incongruous with this ecology, and immediately found themselves in conflict with the seals, sea lions, orcas, whales, eagles, osprey, mink, otters and kingfishers. The result was carnage to wildlife as the farmers tried to defend their salmon from a traditional food that had always been available to the natural predators.
Continue reading The Quadra Project: Salmon Farming in Perspective
Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is being flooded with calls for change after a parliamentary committee examined how the federal agency conducts, interprets and acts on its own science.
The investigation ended with 49 recommendations to address concerns about how DFO science is presented to the fisheries minister and the public before important political decisions are made — particularly those involving B.C. salmon farms or commercial fisheries on either coast.
Continue reading Fisheries and Oceans Canada faces deluge of calls to improve ‘suspect’ science
According to the Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) press release of February 18, 2022, “There are multiple stressors on wild salmon, including: climate change; habitat degradation and destruction; regulated fishing as well as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Given the state of Wild Pacific Salmon, the Government of Canada is taking a highly precautionary approach to manage Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the Discovery Islands area.”
Licenses for the 15 remaining fish farms in this region will not be reissued.
Continue reading DFO Decision: Discovery Island Fish Farms remain closed
Editor’s note: The following article is joint letter to the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Academic scientists’ critique of DFO Science Response Report 2022/045
We are a group of 16 professors and research scientists who, collectively, have extensive research expertise in fisheries, epidemiology, and the environmental consequences of aquaculture. We write to express our professional dismay at serious scientific failings in a recently published DFO Science Response Report (#2022/045) about sea lice on salmon farms and wild salmon in BC. We are deeply concerned with the report’s flaws and its main, unsupported conclusion: that the presence of parasitic sea lice on wild juvenile salmon is not significantly associated with sea lice from nearby salmon farms.
Continue reading 16 scientists condemn ‘scientific failings’ of ‘flawed’ DFO report