Greenwashing creates an image of caring

Environmental concerns, protection of wild stocks are irrelevant and foreign to this industry

Re: Marine Harvest achieves ASC certification.

Read the press release and the first thing that came to mind was “Greenwashing?” and it truly shows how desperate this Industry is to create an image of caring in order to sell its product and attempt to secure additional sites

Environmental concerns, protection of wild stocks are irrelevant and foreign to this industry as they continue to maintain the use of open net pen technology, use our coastal waterways as a free open sewer for the waste they produce and call on the regulators (federal, provincial governments) to lower existing regulatory standards all in the name of being competitive with other countries producing the same product. In a majority of cases one will find that these are the very same corporations involved in those other countries.

There are a variety of reasons why labelling is important to global corporations such as Marine Harvest and others involved in the industry but I will stick with two of the basics.

First is marketing of the product and a need to address society?s growing sensitivity to environmental, health, food security and sustainability issues on the subject of food. Using some form of third party certification is of importance as it conveys that there is someone else monitoring the activity of the producer and looking out for your interests.

My guess here is that former statements such as this product was produced using “Best Aquaculture Practises” (BAP) just does not seem to cut it anymore.

Second point with respect to the use of third party certifications is to establish a degree of political goodwill in addressing concerns in order to obtain required approvals for new sites to place their farms. Attempt to convince residents, local politicians in a given area of how benign this industry is and that there will be very limited impacts on new area and this has been certified by.

If the players involved are truly concerned with wild stock populations, then why are fish farms continually placed on the known migratory routes of our native species of salmon leaving open the real potential risks of transfer of diseases and parasites?

Why is there the insistence to introduce a foreign species – dare one say, an invasive species – that will aggressively compete for survival following their escape from open net pens?

How can anyone certify it an environmentally-sound practice for fish farms to introduce antibiotics, pesticides into natural aquatic surroundings, then fill those surroundings with piles of excrement and other waste?

The article makes mention of responsible disease management so we are to assume that the attempts to control sea lice problems by dumping bleach (hydrogen peroxide) into the fish pens is both sound environmental procedure and is good animal husbandry?

That statement may not be of particular relevance to the Marine Harvest Marsh Bay site but then again this is the same company who has received provincial government approval to use hydrogen peroxide at its farm sites in Quatsino Sound. I believe that there are some six farms involved with this little known gem.

One gets angry with the regular postings from this Industry on their “gold” standards, highly questionable certifications and it is time we all take a stand and tell them to grow up and get the hell out of our waterways.

Time to move to closed containment systems and then you can speak about being environmentally-friendly and non-obtrusive to our natural surroundings and wild stocks.

Thank you.

Dave Crosby

Campbell River