Science is still lack­ing

Se­nate re­port calls for na­tional data­base, more trans­parency for aqua­cul­ture

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MICHAEL MAC­DON­ALD

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups are rais­ing con­cerns about a new fed­eral re­port on Canada’s $1-bil­lion aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, say­ing the study ap­pears to be fo­cused on ramp­ing up pro­duc­tion at the ex­pense of the en­vi­ron­ment.

A spokes­woman for the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion, which is op­posed to the use of open-net pens in salmon farm­ing, says the Se­nate re­port re­leased Thurs­day calls for more re­search in­stead of tougher reg­u­la­tions and en­force­ment.

“We can­not wait years for re­search to give us the data and then have changes im­ple­mented,” Sue Scott said in an in­ter­view from St. An­drews, N.B.

“Re­search is im­por­tant but we have known for about 15 years about the im­pact of ( farmed salmon) es­capees on wild At­lantic salmon. We’ve been out there with the data and it hasn’t made much of an im­pact on the gov­ern­ment or the in­dus­try to im­prove oper­a­tions.”

Scott said ocean-based salmon farms re­quire more trans­parency and less self-reg­u­la­tion.

The Se­nate’s three-vol­ume re­port of­fers 10 rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing a call for a new fed­eral Aqua­cul­ture Act and more re­search on fin­fish aqua­cul­ture and the im­pact of pes­ti­cides used on sea lice.

“The science is still lack­ing on a num­ber of top­ics,” P.E.I. Sen. El­iz­a­beth Hub­ley told a news con­fer­ence in Ot­tawa. “This is par­tic­u­larly so in re­la­tion to trans­fer of pathogens from aqua­cul­tured to wild salmon.”

The Se­nate’s stand­ing com­mit­tee on fish­eries, which stud­ied the in­dus­try for 18 months, is also call­ing for a na­tional data­base that would of­fer the public ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about ev­ery aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tor in the coun­try.

“There didn’t seem to be an av­enue for the gen­eral public to be able to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion ... on in­dus­try ac­tiv­ity,” Sen. Fabian Man­ning said af­ter the re­port was re­leased.

Con­ser­va­tion groups say the call for a new aqua­cul­ture act has been a long-stand­ing re­quest from the in­dus­try, and crit­ics say it could lead to less pro­tec­tion for the wild fish.

The Hal­i­fax-based Ecol­ogy Ac­tion Cen­tre, which is also op­posed to ocean-based salmon farm­ing, says there should be more of an em­pha­sis on land­based, closed-con­tain­ment fish farm­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.