Open-net fish farms sell out the future

Times Colonist
Thursday, May 17, 2007

Re: “The coastal economy: Let’s keep options open,” May 14.
I am a fourth-generation Vancouver Islander and have lived long enough to recognize an outdated ideology. Dan Miller is privileged to have held such responsible positions as minister of forests, energy, mines and premier. Yet under his watch, coastal communities repeatedly traded their natural wealth in exchange for short-sighted profit.

Ironically, these communities are now economically depressed; resource companies have moved on. My generation is left with few salmon in the rivers, logged forests and fragmented biological communities in distress.  I do not argue against Miller’s lament that, “Healthy families need a steady source of income.” However, allowing multinational corporations access to our natural resources will always result in large profits for the few and few jobs for the local communities.

The salmon-farming industry in B.C. is owned by a handful of multinational corporations; profit is their bottom-line. As a result, open-net pen salmon farms are degrading our marine environment, diluting our wild salmon fishery and competing with an increasingly important ecotourism industry dependent on healthy biological systems.

Coastal communities need to take back control of their natural resources and find imaginative ways to earn a living that strike a balance with biological systems. This is only way communities will rise above the economic devastation left from the historic pillaging of their resources.

We must demand the provincial government implement all recommendations of its committee on sustainable aquaculture.

Michael Price,
Biologist,
Raincoast Conservation Society.

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