Salmon Farmers Driven out of British Columbia

British Columbian salmon farmers say they have had enough, and many of them are throwing in the towel, according to an August 31 article in the Canadian Financial Post. Many blame aggressive conservationist-driven anti-salmon-farming campaigns as the reason they are leaving Canada to work on salmon farms in other parts of the world. Due to intense opposition by environmentalists, expansion of this environmentally destructive industry has been brought to a standstill.

Although this is good news for British Columbia, it is bad news for New Zealand, as many industry deserters are moving down south to help the Kiwi's expand their salmon farming enterprises. In fact, the New Zealand government has pledged to triple the market for farm-raised salmon within the next 15 years. Other salmon farmers are moving to help build up the industry in Tasmania.

According to the Financial Post, in British Columbia (B.C.) alone, applications for 15 fish farms-most of them salmon-are currently languishing in the licensing system. Some have been languishing since 2002. The delay in their approval has cost the industry about $450 million, estimates Mary Ellen Walling, the Executive Director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. That is more than value of the industry's entire 2006 sales.

"The world appetite for salmon is growing faster than our ability to supply it," said Ms. Walling. "The environmental lobby in B.C. is so strong that it really limits opportunities. It is really frustrating."

"Our goal is nothing less than the elimination of this ecologically destructive industry," said Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Captain Paul Watson. "Alaska and Washington recognize the damage that these domesticated exotic salmon have caused to wild salmon species, and they have banned salmon farming as a perversion of nature. If wild salmon are to be protected in Canadian waters, these vile salmon raising prisons need to be eliminated."

Sea Shepherd is opposed to farm-raised salmon for the following 10 reasons:

  1. We are opposed to the introduction and breeding of exotic species in waters in which they do not naturally belong.
  2. We are opposed to an industry that must catch an average of 50 fish from the sea in order to feed and raise 1 domesticated fish in a pen.
  3. We are opposed to the proliferation of sea lice by the salmon farms and the passing on of these lice to wild salmon populations.
  4. We are opposed to the fecal and chemical pollution from these farms, which leaks into local marine eco-systems.
  5. We are opposed to the killing of sea lions, seals, eagles, bears, otters, and other predators, who are attracted to the pens and then shot by salmon farmers.
  6. We are opposed to the hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals used to raise these fish, and we consider the fish to be toxic.
  7. We are opposed to the use of artificial dyes to color the flesh of these salmon pink, in order to mask the unmarketable dirty white flesh of farm-raised salmon.
  8. We are opposed to the netting off of portions of marine ecosystems by private industry for profit.
  9. We are opposed to the genetic modification of these farm-raised fish to make them grow unnaturally faster and larger.
  10. We are opposed to the enslavement of the salmon to be raised as a commodity. Real fish do not eat pellets, and they do not live in cages.