Salmon farms become an industry in Canada . It creates new jobs and people learned new skills .In Middle Bay on Vancouver Island, AgriMarine Inc. has installed the first of four solid-wall floating tanks for farming salmon and coho salmon. Also on Vancouver Island, the Toquaht First Nation is planning a 60-hectare land-based aquaculture park with a recirculating tank system that will turn effluent into fertilizer for organic agriculture. And on Cormorant Island, the Namgis First Nation is developing a closed-tank project that will provide local training and jobs.
Instead, as soon as Dr. Miller traced the problem to fish farms, she became ostracized, and effectively put under gag order. When her findings were published in the distinguished journal Science in 2011, the DFO did not allow her to speak to the press, despite the fact that her findings were hailed as some of the most significant salmon research of the decade.
Wild caught fish have already reached such toxic levels, it’s risky to recommend eating them with a clear conscience. For example, according to a US Geological Survey study, mercury contamination was detected in EVERY fish sampled in nearly 300 streams across the United States. More than a quarter of these fish contained mercury at levels exceeding the EPA criterion for the protection of human health. So, when you consider the fact that factory farmed fish typically are even MORE toxic than wild-caught fish and also contain an assortment of antibiotics and pesticides, avoiding them becomes a no-brainer – at least if you’re concerned about your health.
Successive Canadian federal governments have long been proponents of the salmon aquaculture industry, supporting its growth and the relatively minor economic benefits the industry brings to struggling coastal communities while ignoring the global weight of scientific evidence documenting concerns associated with the industry. As an active proponent of salmon farming, the government doesn’t want to make it easier for consumers to identify – and possibly reject – net-cage farmed salmon in the marketplace. In general, Canada has lower consumer information standards than the US and the EU. The US, for example, requires all fresh and frozen fish labels to identify country of origin, whether the fish is wild or farmed and whether it contains colouring agents. Write to the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency and demand labeling laws to protect and inform Canadian consumers.
Salmon farming is the practice of rearing hatchery-origin salmon from smolt to adult size in a net-cage, pond or contained system. As currently practiced on a commercial scale, salmon farming in most regions involves the use of large floating open net-cage pens, usually located in sheltered bays along the coast. In BC, the open net-cages are generally sited in close proximity to wild salmon streams and rivers.
Two years earlier, in 2009, the Fraser River experienced the worst salmon run in recorded history. Some 10 million fish went missing, leaving traditional people living along the river without catch. In response to the public outcry, the Canadian government created the Commission of Inquiry Into the Decline of Salmon in the Fraser River, also known as the Cohen Commission. The inquiry cost $26 million dollars and spanned across 150 days of hearings. Theories presented for the mysterious disappearance of the salmon included overfishing, sharks, water temperature, pollution, even predatory giant squid!
As the industry looks to sustainably and responsibly grow, it looks to do so with the support and partnership of the First Nations whose traditional territory they seek to operate in. Currently, B.C. salmon farmers are partnering with coastal First Nations on 20 economic and social partnerships.
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