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Salmon Farmers Support Cohen Commission Report

02 November 2012

CANADA - The final report of the Cohen Commission into the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye lays solid ground for protecting the future of the iconic salmon run, said BC’s salmon farmers.

Among the 1200 pages and 75 recommendations detailed in the final report, items regarding aquaculture noted that:

  • Farming is allowed to continue in all areas of British Columbia – including the Discovery Islands.
  • New farms are allowed in appropriately sited and planned areas.
  • The quality and quantity of our farmers’ information and data collection is impressive.
  • More research on farmed/wild interactions in the Discovery Islands area should be undertaken and production levels be capped in this area at current levels during this period.
  • The wild salmon policy apply to our farm practices – which our operations already exceed the standards of.

These are all things that we as farmers are supportive of.

“These recommendations are all about protecting wild salmon, which is central to the work that we do each day on our farms,” said Clare Backman, Board Member of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. “We’re confident that our farms are not a risk to wild salmon and support more research to confirm that.”

Commissioner Cohen emphasises in his report that there was no single cause for the poor 2009 return of Fraser River Sockeye, but he draws attention to topics that are either at issue or that need further information to understand any potential impact. Warming water temperatures was called the “elephant in the room,” while the risk of enhancement hatchery fish was also highlighted as serious risk.

“As farmers and British Columbians, it’s imperative to us that the marine environment be protected,” Stewart Hawthorn, Board Member of the BCSFA. “Commissioner Cohen highlighted the data we already collect to monitor our environmental impacts as impressive and we expect that information will continue to be helpful as we move forward.”

The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who provide services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.

For a copy of the report, please visit: http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/

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