Trudeau farm ban plan ‘nonsense’ says Canadian salmon sector
CANADA’S salmon farmers have one word for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to ban open net salmon farming in British Columbia: nonsense.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party, backed by the Green Party, has included the pledge to move all ocean based salmon farms in British Columbia to land based closed containment systems by 2025 in its manifesto for the forthcoming federal elections.
But salmon farming organisations across Canada have been quick to attack the proposal.
Timothy Kennedy, president and CEO of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), said: ‘The Liberal platform commitment to moving all salmon production in British Columbia to ‘closed containment by 2025’ is highly irresponsible, with potentially serious and far-reaching negative consequences for Canadian jobs and the environment.
‘This is a reckless policy, not grounded in science, and it will threaten good, middle-class jobs across Canada.’
The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) agreed, saying that the lack of knowledge behind the election promises was ‘quite astonishing, especially from two parties that claim to be serious about taking action on climate change’.
ACFFA executive director Susan Farquharson published a response on the association’s website, with a warning of the dire consequences of the politically motivated initiative.
‘Even if it were possible to move all ocean based farms to land by 2025 (which it’s not because the technology does not exist on that scale), such a move would bring significant environmental, fish health welfare concerns and devastating socio-economic damage in rural coastal communities.
‘Our salmon farmers are experts in closed containment because their fish spend more than half their lives in land based hatcheries where water recirculation systems are used.
‘Land based technology continues to evolve (salmon farmers are the ones driving that innovation!), but at this point, the evidence is clear: the ocean is the best place for that final stage for salmon to grow from smolts to market size – just as they do in nature.
‘Those who advocate moving all salmon farms from the ocean onto land need to realise that the practice of growing salmon to full maturity in tanks poses very real challenges.
‘To grow salmon to market size and meet the global demand would require massive amounts of land, water and energy. And most importantly there are animal welfare considerations.’
Farquharson added that increased use of land based farms would encourage the relocation of production closer to the main markets.
‘This would have a major socio-economic impact on coastal communities around the world,’ she said.
Atlantic salmon is one of the most energy efficient farmed animals, and ‘decades of peer reviewed research show that salmon farms have little long-term impact on the marine environment’.
Farquharson said the election promises were an ‘attempt to pander for votes to a vocal minority who oppose salmon farming in British Columbia’.
On the east coast, the majority of Atlantic Canadians support salmon farming.
Canadians vote on October 21. Trudeau has been in power since 2015 but his future is looking uncertain, say polls.
Above: Justin Trudeau