Kirk's new enterprise — saving B.C. salmon
Friday, June 11 2010 @ 01:59 PM EDT
Contributed by: jkr
The Ottawa event was attended by marine biologist Alexandra Morton, B.C. First Nation Chief Bob Chamberlin and NDP fisheries and oceans critic Fin Donnelly, who earlier this week introduced a private member's bill that would require Pacific salmon-farming industry to move its operations into closed containment.
Many fish farms off the coast of B.C. currently use open-net pens in coastal waters. That practice causes "pathogens to explode among the wild salmon," as germs transfer from the farms, according to Morton, a scientist and fierce opponent of salmon farming.
The aquaculture industry in Canada generated $2.1 billion for the national economy in 2007, when taking direct and indirect factors into consideration, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
And, according to the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, farm-raised salmon is currently the largest agricultural export in B.C., returning over $800 million to the province's economy, and directly and indirectly employing approximately 6,000 people.
Donnelly's bill comes just months before the federal government regains control of the fish farms, which have been regulated by the province since the late 1980s. The recent switch resulted from a B.C. Supreme Court ruling in a case initiated by Morton, who argued the province is not legally responsible for protecting wild salmon, whereas the federal government is.