Farmed and Dangerous Blog

Archive for the ‘Government Regulation’ Category

Net-cage farmed salmon will never gain public acceptance

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Net-cage salmon farming is bad for the environment and people know it. This is why the salmon farming industry must hire public relations firms like Hill & Knowlton (infamously known for helping the tobacco industry promote smoking) and more recently DDB (who helped launch a 1.5 million dollar campaign in early 2011) – all in an attempt to cast farmed salmon in a positive light. But what may be even worse than this corporate spin is that the Canadian government is also in on the game. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is working to enhance the public image of net-cage farmed salmon as well, despite the fact that this industry is implicated in harm to the marine ecosystems DFO is obligated to protect.

Not only do these promotional activities take time and resources away from DFO’s primary conservation mandate, they are an exercise in futility and therefore an abhorrent waste of our taxpayer dollars. A 2008 internal communications document (DFO Aquaculture Communications Overview 2008-07-07) entered into evidence at the Cohen Inquiry hearings, reveals DFO’s struggle to, as they put it, “strengthen public confidence” in aquaculture. DFO employees were interviewed by a communications consultant hired by the Department. Here are a few statements from DFO staff as quoted in the document:

  • “Aquaculture has very little social license and it continues to decline.”
  • “No one believes the sustainable development message we are trying to communicate on the west coast (including staff).”
  • “We are losing the communications battle.”
  • “(A portion of the public hasn’t) formed an opinion one way or another however they are one or two ENGO communication reports away from changing their minds.”

So why is DFO, and the net-cage salmon farming industry for that matter, losing the PR battle? Because no matter how many “sustainability” strategies DFO comes up with or how many satirical commercials the industry puts out, net-cage salmon farming is simply not, and never will be sustainable. The public will therefore never get on board with this practice.

Our government must stop wasting time and taxpayers’ money attempting to ‘message’ net-cage farmed salmon into public acceptance and instead take real action to create a modern, more sustainable salmon aquaculture industry. Open net-cage salmon farms must be removed from wild fish habitats and transitioned to closed containment technology now.

What is DFO doing to protect juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon from sea lice infestations during this migration season?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Sea lice on wild salmon

Many of the juvenile salmon now migrating through the Discovery Islands are the offspring of the Fraser River sockeye that collapsed in 2009. This subgroup of fish with a troubled past are faced with myriad hazards as they struggle for survival, but adding to their peril (and of course the peril of all wild juvenile salmon) are the rising lice levels on salmon farms. (more…)

Disease + Parasiticides + Habitat Destruction = Organic?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

You may remember hearing that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is developing organic aquaculture standards — standards that would allow net pen farmed salmon, to be certified as ‘organic’. Well, the second draft of Canada’s proposed standards is now available and it’s downright shocking how much the standards contradict even the most basic organic principles.

(more…)

Salmon farm secrecy: Will DFO ever release the licences?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
net-cage salmon farm

Open net-cage salmon farm, Photo: Lara Renehan

Ever wonder how many thousands upon thousands of farmed salmon are stocked in net-cages along the BC coast? How many millions of Atlantic salmon are held in pens on the migratory path of wild Pacific salmon? Ever wonder why our governments seem determined to keep this information hidden? (more…)

CAAR declines DFO invitation to consult on federal plan to expand net-cage salmon farming in BC

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Finally! Canada’s federal government is developing a plan to deal with aquaculture! The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI) will be on the agenda of the joint federal and provincial fisheries ministers meeting in November.

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? A federal ‘action’ plan for aquaculture – and a ‘strategic’ one at that! So is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) finally coming to grips with the impact of open net-cages on our marine ecosystems and the harm being visited on our wild salmon, fishing communities, rockfish, lobsters and sea lions?

Net pen in the Broughton Archipelago

Sadly, no. (more…)

Canadian scientist exposes DFO sea lice research biases

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Neil Frazer, a science professor at the University of Hawaii who has been carefully following the BC salmon farming issue for many years, was recently part of a delegation to Norway to meet with top management at Cermaq, the parent company for Mainstream Canada. Mainstream is the second largest salmon farm company operating in BC. (more…)

DFO’s slick language in parliament illustrates how to side-step the weight of scientific evidence

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Trevor Swerdfager, Director General of Aquaculture for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) recently spoke to the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans about salmon aquaculture. It’s an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about exactly what our government is being told about salmon farming from one of DFO’s head honchos. Certain passages also illustrate the precise manner in which DFO dances around incoming projectiles and flying shrapnel. (more…)