For over 15 years, many groups and individuals including many B.C. First Nations, independent scientists, brave DFO scientists, environmental organizations, commercial and sport fishing organizations, ecotourism businesses, and fishing lodges have campaigned to get open net fish farms out of water and on to land, over concern at the harmful effects of sea lice and PRV virus on dwindling stocks of wild salmon.
During this time, DFO has been both industry watchdog and industry proponent in a major conflict of interest.
It is therefore gratifying to see Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan, recently approve the request by seven local First Nations to cancel licenses for 19 of these open net fish farms located in their territories in the Discovery Islands.
However, it is disheartening to see the pushback by four north Vancouver Island mayors and their city councils wholly supporting the affected fish farm companies who are calling for a judicial review of the decision.
It is time to respect the knowledge of local First Nations who want to save wild salmon from extinction and want open net fish farms out of coastal waters. If these politicians would instead insist that fish farm companies quit delaying the transition of open net fish farms to closed containment on land – as they have transitioned elsewhere – there would be little or no job loss.
The writing has been on the wall for years: open net fish farms jeopardize the survival of wild salmon. Further stalling the transition of fish farms from water to land is unacceptable…as is the call for a judicial review, which reeks of racism!
Council of Canadians,
Campbell River Chapter