Tuesday February 21, 2023

The Maritime Executive

After years of concerns over the impact of aquaculture on wild sockeye salmon, Canada’s fisheries department has decided not to renew the operating permits of 15 Atlantic salmon farms in an environmentally-sensitive area of British Columbia. 

In a news release, Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray noted that B.C.’s salmon runs are in “serious, long-term decline,” and some are at risk of collapse if action is not taken. Wild salmon face many stressors, including warming waters and habitat degradation, and fish farming operations may also have an impact – particularly in the tight, narrow passages of the Discovery Islands, where migrating juvenile salmon have to come into close proximity with salmon farms. Of the 31 identified salmon runs in the Fraser River watershed, 11 are endangered. 

“The state of wild Pacific salmon is dire, and we must do what we can to ensure their survival. This was a difficult but necessary decision. By taking an enhanced precautionary approach in the Discovery Islands area, the Government of Canada will help ensure the well-being of wild Pacific salmon for our children and grandchildren,” said Murray in a statement. 

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