B.C. environmental groups object to planned expansion to fish farms after federal promise to remove them

Stan Proboszcz of Watershed Watch Salmon Society says all proposed factory-farm expansions should be denied due to their effect on wild salmon stocks

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      In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau let voters know that open-net salmon farming would come to an end in B.C. in 2025. In fact, this promise was included in the 2019 Liberal platform.

      Also in a mandate letter to then federal fisheries and oceans minister Bernadette Jordan in 2019, Trudeau advised her to work with the province and Indigenous communities "to create a responsible transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025".

      But this morning (November 30), four environmental groups have issued a news release objecting to "12 site expansions including one entirely new 4,400-metric tonne open-net salmon farm" in B.C.

      The new site is slated to be developed between Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago, where open-net salmon farming is being phased out.

      “All proposed factory farm expansions should be denied by the government given their harm to wild salmon, the extremely poor returns of wild salmon and the federal government’s commitment to remove them by 2025,” Watershed Watch Salmon Society's Stan Proboszcz said in the news release.

      Others who attached their names to the release were Living Oceans Society, David Suzuki Foundation, and Clayoquot Action. The federal government oversees changes to licences. The provincial government plays a role when there are applications to create or expand farm
      sites. The feds usually respond within one year

      “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 Karen Wristen of the Living Oceans Society.

      The four groups released the following list of the proposed changes. The yellow sections provide details on the expansions.