Don’t renew B.C. salmon farm tenures
The B.C. government will decide in June whether to renew tenures for open net-cage salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago and elsewhere.
Last year was another bad one for wild salmon returns. Although salmon runs come with many stressors, we have control over at least one: fish farms. Open net-pen farms present a risk to wild salmon from parasites and disease — especially piscine reovirus — that cannot be fully mitigated.
Indigenous communities on the coast have occupied salmon farms in their waters for months and say the fish farms are illegally operating without the consent of those most affected. One-third of B.C. fish farms remain in their territories.
Open net-cage salmon farms should not be allowed in areas where they can increase pathogen risks to wild salmon. As an interim measure, some of the riskiest farms could be relocated.
In addition to not allowing new farms, immediate actions are needed to protect wild salmon:
- Shift operations to areas with the least risk to wild salmon and exercise the precautionary principle
- Charge polluters to motivate a transition to land-based operations
- Make information transparent and support science-based decisions
Ask the B.C. government to demonstrate its commitment to protecting wild salmon by not renewing tenures up for renewal in June 2018.