BC salmon row ‘threat­ens world food source’

Fish Farmer - - World News -

THE po­larised salmon de­bate in Bri­tish Columbia is threat­en­ing a vi­able and sus­tain­able food source for the world, Canada’s fish­eries min­is­ter told busi­ness lead­ers in the prov­ince.

The re­gion, a ma­jor salmon pro­duc­ing area, has long ex­pe­ri­enced dis­putes be­tween its farm­ing com­pa­nies and ac­tivists cam­paign­ing on be­half of wild salmon in­ter­ests.

Jonathan Wilkin­son said peo­ple will come to the con­clu­sion that there is too much risk and BC should just stop the in­dus­try as a whole, Sea West News re­ported.

‘I think this would be a shame for Bri­tish Columbia… I think this would be a shame for the world in terms of ad­dress­ing some of the food re­quire­ment,’ he said dur­ing ques­tions at Van­cou­ver Is­land’s Eco­nomic Al­liance An­nual Sum­mit in Nanaimo.

‘I think we hear a lot of the time a fair bit of con­cern in the me­dia and from in­di­vid­ual per­sons about the po­ten­tial ef­fects that aqua­cul­ture may be hav­ing on wild salmon.

‘And there is a de­bate even around a lot of the science, where sci­en­tists on one side will say one thing and sci­en­tists on an­other side will be say­ing an­other thing… a very con­fus­ing sit­u­a­tion for the av­er­age per­son that is try­ing to ac­tu­ally fig­ure out what is right and what is wrong.

‘At the end of the day, pro­tein needs to come from some­where and so what we need to do is en­sure that we are get­ting to the point where we can ac­tu­ally le­git­i­mately say, and con­vince the av­er­age per­son on the street, that aqua­cul­ture is be­ing done in a man­ner that is en­vi­ron­men­tally, eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able, such that you have so­cial li­cence, or what­ever you want to call it, with an in­dus­try that could be big­ger than what we have to­day.

‘I will tell you per­son­ally that I be­lieve that aqua­cul­ture is part of the so­lu­tion.’

Sea West News re­ported that the min­is­ter had ear­lier re­vealed he pre­ferred closed con­tain­ment so­lu­tions in the oceans for fish farm­ing so coastal com­mu­ni­ties can con­tinue to ben­e­fit from aqua­cul­ture.

And he said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, with the help of the BC pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, plans to launch a study into the type of tech­nol­ogy needed to grow the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try re­gion­ally.

Above: Fed­eral fish­eries min­is­ter Jonathan Wilkin­son

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