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NEWS RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release

2003AGF0004-000137

Feb. 6, 2003

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

 

GOVERNMENT TACKLES FISH FARM CONCERNS

 


COURTENAY – New measures announced today are aimed at protecting wild salmon and improving the management of salmon farming for coastal British Columbia, Stan Hagen, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries said following meetings with industry, First Nations and environmentalists.

 

“Strategic fallowing of salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago this spring will ensure there is a clear route for young salmon to migrate out to sea,” Hagen said. “This affirmative action in the Broughton is specifically designed to protect the wild salmon while we continue to do scientific research into sea lice.

 

“This is the beginning of our action plan to minimize risks to wild salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, not the end,” Hagen said. “If we identify that we need to do more, we will, and we will continue to work closely with the federal government.”

 

B.C. is using international experts and the best available science to advise on the most appropriate farm management techniques, wild fish monitoring programs and fish treatment protocols.

 

A three-day workshop Feb. 22-24 will examine technical advice and finalize the most effective approach for the Broughton Archipelago, as well as set research priorities. The action plan will be in place before the spring migration. Long-term plans include enhanced fish health monitoring, auditing and surveillance, and research.

 

The industry has also taken additional actions, including harvesting early and not restocking. B.C. will support the federal government’s monitoring of pink salmon, and Hagen has instructed staff to look at the ministry’s fines, licensing and disease monitoring tools to make sure they are as effective as they need to be.

 

“John Fraser, chair of the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, has said that it is time to cool the rhetoric around salmon farming. I couldn't agree more,” Hagen said. “I support the concept of a Salmon Aquaculture Forum to improve the dialogue on the science and risks associated with fish farming.

 

“I’ve made it clear today that salmon farmers must take responsibility for restoring public confidence in their industry, and that everyone needs to start finding some common ground. If we’re smart, we can have two strong salmon industries – wild and farmed.”

 


Today's announcement follows through with government's commitment to adopt a scientifically based, balanced and principled approach to environmental management and to increase provincial influence over B.C. marine fisheries.

 

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NOTE: This news release, a backgrounder, and a related map and chart are available at www.gov.bc.ca/agf under Key Initiatives.

 


 1 backgrounder(s) attached.

 

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Media

contact:

Graham Currie

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250 356-2862