The recently released provincial report into Fish Farming has called for ban on farms north of Vancouver Island, a recommendation that isn’t particularly sitting well with First Nation’s communities in Kitkatla and Klemtu.
The report specifically recommended that “no new fin fish sites be approved north of Cape Caution.” The current Marine Harvest operation at Klemtu run in conjunction with the Kitasoo would be allowed to continue operating under a grandfather clause, but no additional development along that site would be allowed, should the report’s recommendations be accepted by the Government.
The report’s recommendations came about after a five four split of the panel, with the five opposition MLA’s from the NDP voting in favour of the report’s final draft, while the four government MLA’s on the panel voted against the prospect of a fish farm ban.
There was wide coverage of the report across the province, which we provide links to below, as well as the front page story from Thursday’s Daily News which provided some local detail to the coast long controversy.
Special Committee Report on Sustainable Aquaculture
Committee Report--Volume One
Committee Report--Volume Two
Vancouver Sun-- Closed pen farming
Vancouver Sun-- Final salmon report spawns controversy
Vancouver Province-- Liberal MP slams fish-farming study
Victoria Times-Colonist-- Salmon farming industry slams MLAs' report
Victoria Times-Colonist-- Start the debate on salmon farms
Globe and Mail--Radical new approach urged in salmon farming
The Fish site--Aquaculture Committee Recommendations Ignore Scientific Research
Westcoaster-- Committee calls for closed containment Salmon Farms
‘BAN FISH FARMS FROM THE NORTH COAST’ REPORT URGES
Eagerly awaited, highly controversial aquaculture report demanding change
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Pages one and three
A new report is calling on the province to put a halt to plans for fish farms on the North and Central Coast, including proposed sites in Kitkatla and Klemtu.
And it says the remainder of the aquaculture industry needs to transition to ocean-based closed containment within five years.
The Special Legislative Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture approved its report in a five-four vote yesterday with Liberals MLA’s, including North Coast MLA Gary Coons and Skeena MLA Robin Austin (committee chair,) voting in favour.
“While there is no consensus among the scientific community about the potential harm incurred by open net pen technology, the overwhelmingly majority of scientists, as well as a preponderance of evidence, suggests that from a public policy point of view we must act, and act immediately,” reads the report. “We are the guardians and trustees of the environment and therefore cannot place at risk our wild salmon population nor the overall marine environment, both of which are the envy of the world.”
On the North Coast, the report specifically recommends using “the precautionary principle” with “no new fin fish sites approved north of Cape Caution.”
The sites operated by the Kitasoo and Marine Harvest near Klemtu would be grandfathered in, however the report recommends rejecting new sits the partners have applied for.
The Kitasoo say they need the new sites to keep their current level of production and allow their current sites to be fallowed.
The report recommends no new sites be approved unless they use ocean-based closed containment technology.
As for the existing industry down south, the report recommends that the industry work with government to develop ocean-based closed containment, defined as floating barrier technology that ensures no contact between wild and farmed fish.
This would eliminate the concern of disease transfer and sea lice movements on to juvenile salmon and the committee believes would be in demand around the world as people push for more sustainable aquaculture.
They recommended a full commercial scale ocean-base close containment project be undertaken by industry and government to meet the three-year deadline. Once new technology is developed, government should provide incentives for the industry to transition to ocean-based closed containment within another two years.
The report also recommends reinstating the rights of cities and residents to approve any new sites in the future.
During the committee hearing to adopt the report, Liberal MLA and deputy committee chair Ron Cantelon said the report was more political than scientific.
“Compelling politics we heard; compelling evidence we didn’t hear,” he said. “The core recommendation which dominates the report, is the recommendations to move closed containment in three years. As I think from what we hear the evidence supports, that’s not a feasible option. Since everything seems to stem from that, the rest of the report is incidental to that core recommendation.”
However, North Coast NLA Gary Coons disagreed. “This committee was tasked with finding recommendations for a sustainable aquaculture industry and protecting wild salmon and I believe we have a fair and balanced report here that is going to help both industries.:
Although they presented the report in the legislature yesterday, it has not yet been debated by all members and its conclusions are not binding.
Nor does the province, if it approves the recommendations approve and deny sites. That process is conducted by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans.
WHAT THE REPORT IS CALLLING FOR.
The Daily News
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Recommendations of the provincial Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture
Fin fish aquaculture:
-- A rapid phased transition to ocean-based closed containment from open net pens. The technology must be developed in three years and industry must adopt the technology in another two years.
-- There should be no new fish farm sites approved north of Cape Caution (the northern tip of Vancouver Island)
-- The existing Klemtu sites should be grandfathered in subject to negotiations between area First Nations and Marine Harvest.
-- Any expansion north of Cape Caution must include closed containment technology.
-- Once the transition to closed containment occurs, new sites may be developed only if the rights of local governments and residents to approve sites is restored and all local governments, First Nations and citizens should be involved in the tenure siting.
-- A watchman program should be established under which first Nations in whose territory the fish farms are located are contracted to monitor sites for best practices.
-- Priority should be placed with the provincial and federal government for increased capacity for monitoring.
-- Effective fallowing regimes must be brought in place to protect juvenile wild salmon during period of migration.
-- There must be no increase in product levels per site or tenure.
-- Use of fish meal and fish oil derived from wild sources must not exceed one pound of wild fish harvested to one pound of aquatic animals grown.
-- The province must work with industry and the federal government on a new labeling regime that labels additives, distinguishes between open and closed containment and labels the content of the feed.
For a full copy of the report, visit http://www.leg.bc.ca/ and look under committee reports.