Fish misinformation

While I completely support the title of Mike Moore’s recent letter (Wild fish important to the health of B.C. coast, April 13) the actual content was nothing more than a typical attack full of half-truths and flat out lies about salmon farming in B.C.

Regrettably, after 19 years of being a salmon farmer, I find this to be quite typical prior to elections.

Mr. Moore is concerned that a salmon farm located in Hoskyn Channel (east side of Quadra Island) may threaten the survival of out-migrating Fraser River sockeye, and asks that it be removed. He suggests that the number of active farms in the area is “six farms along this waterway alone.”

That is wrong – there is one – and this information has been posted publicly since February at SalmonFarmers.org.

For some important context – when last year’s record run of Fraser River sockeye went to sea in 2008, there were five sites in operation in Hoskyn and Okisollo Channel. Today there is one.

But regardless of the number of sites operating, what’s important to understand is that all farms operate under strict regulations that ensure our fish are very healthy and that sea lice levels are very low to ensure no risk to out-migration fish – and all despite zero evidence that juvenile sockeye are actually harmed by sea lice (which they do host naturally even at a small size).

Fish health and sea lice information is also publicly posted.

Mr. Moore then states that “every single channel and passage to the north of the Straight of Georgia has salmon farms situated in them.”

This is not quite true as Johnstone Strait, the largest channel of water that runs up the East side of Vancouver Island, has no salmon farms.  I would kindly ask that before Mr. Moore jump on a political campaign, that he learn about the subject he writes about and that the thousands of salmon farmers working in B.C. are awarded the common decency of fact checking before misinformation is printed in our local papers.

Ian Roberts

Campbell River