The bad news is that the BC government recently approved a new Atlantic salmon farm: Yaakswiis, off the east shore of Flores Island.
Ahousaht hereditary chiefs announced on 11 August that they have asked Cermaq to replace its existing Dixon Bay farm, located in a pristine area of northern Clayoquot, with the new Yaakswiis farm. (Read the chiefs’ press release here (PDF).
So the good news is that, with the denial of the Herbert Inlet West site application, the number of operating farms in Clayoquot Sound should stay unchanged at 20.
Ahousaht chiefs also announced plans to begin a feasibility study for a land-based salmon farm on the band’s private property on Meares Island. Closed containment on land is a far better way of farming salmon. Properly done, it does not pollute the ocean or transfer diseases and parasites to wild stocks. This is a very promising development for wild fish in Clayoquot Sound, and we applaud the Ahousaht Chiefs for their vision!
UPDATE 20-Aug — A DFO webpage confirms that the aquaculture license for Yaakswiis allows the same peak biomass as all the other Cermaq farms in Clayoquot: 2,640 tonnes of fish per production cycle. So rumours that Yaakswiis would double the production of the Dixon Bay farm it replaces were unfounded.
In size, Yaakswiis will have 12 cages (each 30 x 30 x 15 metres deep), similar to Cermaq’s other farms, such as Plover Point.
The Herbert Inlet West application was denied because the proposed site does not have enough tidal flow to flush away the sewage (feces and uneaten food pellets) that would have been released by hundreds of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon housed in open net-cages.