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Old 4th November 2009, 08:08
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Default Town hall meeting on salmon farming Vancouver Island.

Citizens concerned about destructive salmon farming practices have declared November 9 to November 14 as a Global Week of Action.

Where salmon are farmed in open pens alongside wild salmon and sea trout populations, wild fish suffer.

Globally, wild salmon and trout populations have been reduced by 50 percent where open net salmon farms exist.

In 2007, juvenile Fraser River sockeye were infested with high levels of sea lice as they passed by the open net salmon farms in the Northern Georgia Strait.

In 2009, most of that same generation of salmon failed to return to the Fraser, closing Aboriginal, recreational and commercial fisheries and putting the future sustainability of that salmon run in jeopardy.

Citizens are demanding answers from this government. How will it protect the lifeblood of our Pacific ecosystem, wild salmon, from the adverse affects of open net pen salmon farms?

The NDP has repeatedly asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea, for details on how the federal government will regulate fish farms.

Her only reply is that she is consulting with stakeholders and a plan is forthcoming.

That answer didn’t satisfy me, so I decided to ask a detailed written question of the minister and asked for a reply within 45 days as the House of Commons rules stipulate.

This is my question: With regard to fisheries and in light of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruling that fish farms are a fishery and therefore must be regulated by the federal government:

a) When will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans introduce legislation to regulate the fish farm fishery.

b) What is Canada’s commitment to sustainable aquaculture development.

c) What action is the minister taking to protect wild fisheries like the Fraser River sockeye.

d) What plans are there to transition open net pen salmon farms to closed containment.

e) What sustainability improvements for salmon aquaculture are being contemplated.

f) When will the minister convene an emergency summit with all key stakeholder groups to discuss low returns on the Fraser River?

I will be sharing the minister’s reply after it is presented in the House.

Many people have shared their concerns about protecting wild fisheries with me, but I know there are many others who still have more to share.

That’s why, as part of the Global Week of Action for Salmon, I am hosting a town hall meeting on fish farms with the Georgia Strait Alliance.

It will be November 14 in room 203 of building 355 at the Vancouver Island University campus in Nanaimo at 1 p.m.

Everyone is welcome.

From the Lake Cowichan Gazette
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