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Lifting of salmon farm moratorium no joke

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  • Senior Staff
    From: Craig Orr April 1, 2002 Public Target of Gigantic April Fool s Prank? Government determined to ignore overwhelming risks and public
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2002
      From: "Craig Orr" <corr@...>

      April 1, 2002

      Public Target of Gigantic April Fool s Prank?

      Government determined to ignore overwhelming risks and public concerns by lifting fish farm moratorium.

      Despite overwhelming evidence that fish farms pose serious threats to the environment and the health of humans, government still seems determined to lift its moratorium on new fish farms at month s end.

      Here are five concerns government seems content to ignore:

      * The Alaska Atlantic salmon white paper ;
      * Sea Lice infestations;
      * Disease infestations;
      * The precautionary principle;
      * An environmental review.

      The Alaska Atlantic Salmon white paper lambastes BC salmon farming practices and promotion. The 12-page paper, published March 5 by Alaska s Department of Fish & Game, was produced in response to questions raised&following the capture of Atlantic salmon in Alaskan waters. The paper calls BC s recent decision to lift its moratorium on new salmon farming tenures a serious concern and says that fish escaping from BC exacerbates the current problem. The paper is available at (<http://www.ak.gov/adfg>www.ak.gov/adfg).

      Alaska forbids salmon farming of any species.

      Farmed Atlantic salmon have been found in 78 of BC s rivers, and have reproduced in at least three on Northeastern Vancouver Island. The ecological dangers of exotic Atlantic salmon have been studied by University of Alberta Professor Dr. John Volpe, a frequent guest of BC talk shows and lectures.

      Atlantic salmon were first recovered in Southeast Alaska in 1991. Since then, 600 have been recovered there, though untold numbers go unrecognized.

      The White Paper provides a useful history of the BC farming industry (including economics), and summarizes ecological and disease threats. Here are several terse recommendations:

      · Allow only land-based Atlantic salmon farming and storage operations;

      · Adopt a zero risk management policy in lieu of British Columbia s failed managed risk policy;

      · Replace the British Columbia Agricultural Ministry as the primary permitting and oversight agency for salmon farms;

      · Stop [the] deliberate release of hundreds of thousands of small non-performing Atlantic and Pacific salmon;

      · Provide branding, monitoring, and inventory methods to accurately identify, assess, and control deliberate and accidental releases.

      In March, two of the world s authorities on sea lice parasitism told large Vancouver audiences that sea lice infestations emanating from salmon farms pose a substantial risk to wild salmonids worldwide.

      Speaking on the Rafe Mair Program, Dr. Patrick Gargan of Ireland s Central Fisheries Board recounted how salmon farms have devastated Ireland s wild sea-run brown trout. Following the 1989 collapse of Irish sea trout authorities spent five years denying there was a problem and five more looking for every culprit but the real one sea lice, Gargan said.

      At a March 14 workshop, Norwegian scientist Jens Christian Holst described similar problems of farm-related sea lice mortality of wild Norwegian salmon. Holst concluded that despite strong efforts to reduce the numbers of salmon lice in fish farms, the densities of lice larvae still cause serious population effects on seaward migrating wild salmon postsmolts.

      To date, no government official publicly admits that sea lice are even a potential risk to BC s wild salmonids.

      Despite the many reported occurrences of sea lice outbreaks in wild salmon since the inception of salmon aquaculture in Ireland, Norway, Scotland, New Brunswick, Chile, and BC, both the federal and provincial ministers of fisheries trivialize the sea lice threat. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently released a report dismissing public concerns over a reported sea lice outbreak on juvenile pink salmon in the most intensively farmed area in the world BC s Broughton Archipelago.

      The government report was soundly criticized as more cover-up than science by a 32-year veteran of Fisheries and Oceans (Vancouver Sun, December 24, 2001).

      There have been too many recent outbreaks of IHN to recount.

      The evidence of environmental threats is large and growing. First Nations, conservationists, and ordinary citizens are calling on government to honor its commitment to Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development the so-called precautionary principle .

      The BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission and several conservation groups are planning an environmental summit of the risks of salmon farming. For details, visit <http://www.watershed-watch.org/>www.watershed-watch.org, or contact Dr. Craig Orr, Watershed Watch (<mailto:corr@...>corr@... or 604-936-9474).

      Dare I say it? current news should be available in the Escribe archives

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