VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — Salmon farming companies are proposing to expand 12 sites, including one new 4,400-metric tonne open-net salmon farm. The requests for expansions come after studies indicate open-net salmon farms spread harmful parasites, viruses and bacteria to wild salmon and after the federal government committed to removing them by 2025.

The 12 proposals (more details in backgrounder) vary according to the expansions’ characteristics:

  • One is a new site proposed between two areas (Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago) where open-net salmon farms are being removed;
  • Four are proposing increases in production;
  • Four are proposing increases to the number of pens;
  • Two are proposing that a maximum allowable production in the region be dropped; and
  • One site is increasing the tenure size.

Any expansion of production, whether through new tenures or increases in number of pens, production caps or tenure size will further amplify the risk of disease and parasites to vulnerable wild salmon populations.

“The government should deny all proposed factory farm expansions given their harm to wild salmon, the extremely poor returns of wild salmon and the federal government’s commitment to remove them by 2025,” said Watershed Watch Salmon Society science adviser Stan Proboszcz.

“Increasing the number of farmed fish held in any of these areas just increases the risk of uncontrollable sea lice outbreaks and amplifies disease pathogens, putting wild salmon at greater risk,” said Living Oceans Society executive director Karen Wristen.

“When many wild salmon populations are in precipitous decline and under increasing pressure from climate change, we must do everything we can to ensure their survival. This means eliminating the risk from open net-pen fish farming, not expanding this unsustainable practice. Government has to reject these applications if it is serious about salmon recovery,” said David Suzuki Foundation marine conservation specialist Kilian Stehfest.

“It is outrageous that Fisheries and Oceans Canada would even consider increasing fish farm capacity or production levels in, of all places, Clayoquot Sound,” said Clayoquot Action executive director Dan Lewis. “This is heading in the opposite direction of the federal government’s commitment to remove salmon farms from B.C. waters by 2025.”

The provincial government is responsible for approving changes to tenures and the federal government is responsible for salmon farm operation licence issues such as production increases. The federal government typically responds to proposed site changes within one year.

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For more information or a media interview, please contact:

Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, (604) 314-2713,

Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society, (604) 788-5634,

Dan Lewis, Clayoquot Action, (250) 726-8136,

Kilian Stehfest, David Suzuki Foundation, (778) 686-7472,