“The salmon runs are in truth the wealth of the Pacific Ocean brought readily back to the land and use of man. For his part man has used them and abused them, injured and restored them. He knows enough to multiply them even beyond their original abundance and he is threatening them with total destruction.” Roderick Haig-Brown, 1969.
Haig-Brown is a source of inspiration, a guide and a mentor to many. Last summer in Campbell River he was named as a person of national significance to Canada. I take his words seriously.
As British Columbians there is nothing more perfect or more respected than wild salmon, and this is why I believe the time has come to transition British Columbia’s open net salmon aquaculture industry to closed containment. Momentum is gathering globally – and close to home – for very good reasons.
From a business perspective, the global industry is operating in an increasingly unpredictable environment. Public support for the status quo is attenuating. Globally capital is being invested in closed containment facilities, and British Columbia and Canada should not miss this important shift.
From an environmental perspective, there is mounting evidence that sea lice and virus transfer threaten wild salmon stocks. Last summer’s complete net pen collapse in Washington State resulted in an outright ban within two months of the disaster. All Washington State licenses will have expired by 2025.
From a science perspective, the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative study led by Dr. Kristi Miller in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Genome BC and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, found that the PRV virus known to cause disease in farmed Atlantic salmon causes disease in Chinook salmon in British Columbia. The non-partisan Pacific Salmon Foundation has stated that open net salmon farming poses biological risks to the abundance and diversity of already depleted wild Pacific salmon and is calling for a transition to closed containment.
From an Indigenous perspective, most – not all – Indigenous communities are opposed to open net farms in their territories. Innovation presents the potential for industry and First Nations to be enterprise partners.
From a trade perspective, Canada is a trusted global leader in high-value, safe, secure sustainable food. The potential to develop our agri-food sector, particularly in light of recent trade agreements, is exceptional.
Now is the time to take a regional approach to aquaculture in Canada and to explain how we plan to transition to closed containment on the west coast of British Columbia.
(Excerpted from my op-ed article published in the Vancouver Sun, June 18, 2018.)
Please visit: www.pgoldsmithjones.liberal.ca for more information. I welcome your thoughts – Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Facebook: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, or drop by our office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.