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Environmental groups oppose new salmon farm site in Clayoquot

Open letter to Premier Christy Clark opposing new salmon farm site in Clayoquot Sound

October 11, 2012

Dear Premier Clark,

We are writing you to express serious concerns about the recent approval of a new salmon farm tenure at Plover Point, off Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound.

Clayoquot Sound already has 20 salmon farm sites, despite the fact that wild salmon runs throughout the Sound are in dramatic decline. No wild salmon population anywhere in the world has thrived in close proximity to open net pen salmon farms. We are particularly concerned about the threat that these huge farms pose to our wild salmon stocks especially where it comes to the spread of bacterial and viral pathogens and parasites like sea lice emanating from these farms and infecting and killing our wild stocks.

We wrote you about this matter on July 18, 2012 and you responded saying that we would be hearing from the Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, who would address our concerns. We have not heard from the Minister.  It is our view that the issue of pathogen transfer from farmed salmon to wild fish has not been  adequately addressed both generally and within the site approval process.

In May of this year, Mainstream reported an outbreak of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis virus (IHN) on one of their open net-cage salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound. The fish from this farm, numbering 560,000 were destroyed. Another Mainstream farm showed a weak positive.

Dr. Kristi Miller, Head of the Molecular Genetics section at the Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), reported Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv) positive test results in two other Clayoquot Sound salmon farms last year.

This year the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began a two-year, coast-wide surveillance program to get a more complete picture of the ISAv, IHN, and infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) situation in British Columbia’s wild salmon. All of these diseases are highly contagious and can cause mortality in wild and farmed salmon. 

No new salmon farm tenures should be granted, including the Plover Point site, until the CFIA investigation has been completed and new measures are in place to ensure there are no impacts on wild salmon stocks due to disease outbreaks on B.C. salmon farms.

We look forward to a specific response to this priority issue of pathogen transfer from salmon farms to B.C. wild salmon.

Respectfully,

Bonny Glambeck, Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society
Ruby Berry, Georgia Strait Alliance
Torrance Coste, Wilderness Committee
David Lane, T. Buck Suzuki Foundation
John Werring, David Suzuki Foundation