Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) sent an open letter to Premier Christy Clark today calling on her to postpone the decision on Mainstream Canada’s proposed 55-hectare salmon farm tenure at Plover Point in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The letter is signed by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and seven environmental groups including; FOCS, Greenpeace, Wilderness Committee, and the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) member groups.
There are many environmental and economic impacts associated with the practice of open net-cage salmon aquaculture, but of particular concern are a number of deadly salmon viruses. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a two-year surveillance program to get a more complete picture of the virus picture in British Columbia’s wild salmon.
The Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River (Cohen Commission) is scheduled to release its findings September 30. Justice Cohen’s recommendations may well affect how salmon farming is being conducted in B.C.
“It would be irresponsible for DFO to approve this application before the recommendations from Justice Cohen and the CFIA are released. But this appears to be where they are heading,” said Bonny Glambeck, FOCS Campaigns Director. “We’re asking Premier Clark to stand up for wild salmon and not give away what is so precious to British Columbians.”
The signatories to the letter are calling on Premier Christy Clark to not issue the seabed lease for Plover Point, at least until the CFIA has completed its study and the Cohen Commission recommendations have been incorporated into management regimes.
Transport Canada has completed its environmental assessment of the application and has issued an approval. Mainstream is currently awaiting approvals from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and from the province of BC for the seabed lease. These decisions are expected by month’s end.