Dear Editor, As you reported in the August 27th edition of Westerly News Aquaculture Awareness Week will be celebrated in many communities on Vancouver Island that are home to salmon farming companies and salmon farmers, including Ucluelet.
Awareness is important for all industries, not just for the shareholders of the companies, but for the hard working men and women who are the heart and soul of operations. Days, weeks, and months of recognition are declared at the national, provincial and local level across Canada for many industries including forestry, mining, and agriculture – it shows that the government of the day sees the importance and collectively celebrates the contribution of those people in the community.
In the District of Tofino however our sector has some work to do. Both Creative Salmon and Cermaq Canada are active members of the community and as Coun. Garth Cameron said “Creative Salmon is always the first to step up to the plate and donate salmon to any kind of community event,” but there is also a lack of understanding that is shaping opinion.
Coun. Dorothy Baert raised the Cohen Commission as giving her an understanding of the issues around salmon farming. She should know then that after three years of research compelling tensof-thousands of documents and unprecedented data, Justice Cohen found that there was no evidence salmon farms were negatively affecting the Fraser River Sockeye (Final Report Volume 3, p. 24). BC’s salmon farmers have supported all of his aquaculture recommendations – not just in words, but in action – since their release.
There were over 60 recommendations made by Justice Cohen that didn’t relate to aquaculture that will also help to guide fisheries management decisions into the future.
In the meantime, we feel managed and careful growth of salmon farming
is an important part of protecting our wild salmon. Our responsible farming sector represents an opportunity for BC to lead the way as a food solution. As Coun. Geoff Lyons in Ucluelet noted, “I think salmon farming is the answer to addressing a lot of food needs.”
Jeremy Dunn, Executive Director BC Salmon Farmers Association