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Suspend clam-farm licences in Strait of Georgia, NDP urges

26 February 2007

VANCOUVER - The New Democratic Party has called on the government of British Columbia to suspend licences recently granted to allow geoduck farms in the Strait of Georgia, and to declare a moratorium on future farms pending scientific review.

Gregor Robertson, one of six NDP members on a special legislative committee studying the aquaculture industry in B.C., said the clam farms shouldn't be allowed to go ahead because the government hasn't consulted with native bands or done adequate research on possible environmental impact.

"Basically we're calling for a halt to these licences being issued until consultation and independent science is done," Mr. Robertson said yesterday.

Last month, the B.C. government approved two new clam farms, off Savary and Hernando Islands, despite the fact the legislative committee on aquaculture is still reviewing the issue of industry expansion in the Strait of Georgia.

The new farms are the first to be licensed since 1996, when a test site was approved for one farm. Two other geoduck farm applications are awaiting approval.

Pat Bell, Minister of Agriculture and Lands, said last month the farms had been approved only after years of study and consultation.

But Mr. Robertson yesterday released a letter from Chief Walter Paul of the Sliammon First Nation in Powell River, protesting against the new farms.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

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