Wild salmon, not fish farms

Times Colonist July 18, 2009
By Mike Price

It is ironic that Clare Backman (“Salmon farms, wild fish can co-exist,” July 14) describes the connection between repetitive communication and personal belief. It is this very technique that salmon-farm companies have employed to persuade the public that open net-pen salmon farms pose no threat to wild stocks — keep stating that farms are sustainable and people will believe it.

Wild salmon provide more to our local economy, cultural and spiritual identity and ecological well-being than farm salmon ever could.

Marine Harvest is the largest salmon-farm company in the world, and its so-called “sustainable” operation decisions are predicated on mass production and global shareholder interests.

This same outdated model, long employed by the forest industry, has facilitated the liquidation of Vancouver Island’s old growth and caused the subsequent resource predicament now facing coastal communities.

If Marine Harvest believed in sustainability, it would acknowledge that farms are the primary source for lice infecting migrating juvenile wild salmon in B.C. to the point of population collapse, as published in the journal Science.

Some have called for the closure of several Marine Harvest farms among the Discovery Islands because they threaten the future of so many wild salmon stocks. We need to go further and close all farms in this biologically rich region and make the Discovery Islands a salmon sanctuary.

The bottom line is that wild salmon cannot co-exist with salmon raised in open net-pens.

Michael Price
Conservation biologist
Raincoast Conservation

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Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.