Some good news for wild salmon was announced yesterday — check out the media release from the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR). Grieg Seafood was denied the zoning rights to develop a new massive open net-cage salmon farm in the northern Georgia Strait area. This is good news for the numerous runs of salmon that live in and migrate through this area.
For years scientists have identified significant disease and parasite risks from open net-cage salmon farms to wild salmon, and there is concern that high levels of infectious sea lice may be affecting Fraser River sockeye who migrate near salmon farms in this region. Fraser sockeye are the backbone of the wild salmon fishing industry and are facing considerable threats from climate change, habitat loss, fisheries mismanagement and aquaculture impacts. There are a number of threatened Fraser sockeye runs that need rebuilding and overall abundance of Fraser sockeye has reached record-low levels for three consecutive years. The rejection of this zoning sends a strong message to industry that only sustainable salmon farming methods will be acceptable in B.C. This is an encouraging step in the right direction that recognizes the importance of both wild salmon and sustainable fish farming in B.C.'s economy and future.