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February 3, 2011

why do we have salmon feedlots in British Columbia? - By Alex Morton

Dear Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia:

I am writing to ask you; why do we have salmon feedlots in British Columbia?
You are no doubt aware of the public response to salmon feedlots and hopefully you know it is in trouble in every country where it operates

Is the provincial government renting the seafloor to this industry to benefit the public with jobs?

British Columbians don’t eat farm salmon, so we are not doing it for food.

Jobs, however, are a good reason, but if jobs are the reason there is an obvious way out of this mess.  Clearly wild salmon have a future in BC and you don’t want to be a government that harms their enormous contribution to this province, as an increasingly rare and valuable asset.

We can only count “direct jobs” because the “indirect” salmon feedlot jobs may not actually be viable without the wild fisheries and the growing tourism industry.

                    Source                                                                                                    # of jobs

Recent Salmon Farm ad ……………………………………………………...6,000
Price Waterhouse Cooper April 2009………………………………….................2,800
Economic and Social Impact of Aquaculture in Canada (DFO, 2009)………2,220
Phone call to Seafood and Aquaculture Information specialist (MAL 2011). 1,259

This is quite a large range of numbers, but the fourth is the most current and from the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, who are the keeper of fish farm numbers.

Today’s seafood markets hinge on sustainability.  More and more stores are refusing to sell fish products listed as unsustainable. Fish species raised in tanks are given favourable ratings, while feedlots dumping their manure onto the seafloor are rated poorly.

In response, there are tank fish farms, of many species, springing up throughout Canada, not because they were forced to do this, but because they are making money.  There is a man in Quebec growing 15,000 heads of lettuce per week on the waste from the 600 pounds of trout he also raises per week (Northern Aquaculture Nov/Dec 2010). The waste that net pen operators pour into the ocean is actually a valuable product that can be used to make food and money. Just because the three big industrial operators don’t want to change, does not mean the industry isn’t changing around them. The Norwegian salmon feedlot corporations are dinosaurs harming their own industry with their aggressive unwillingness to evolve.

I don’t see a problem.  There are no losers here.  There are serious and valid concerns about impact of salmon feedlots in the ocean and it is big issue in BC.  We have 1,259 people in BC who know how to grow fish.

If jobs are the goal, don’t allow yourself to be bullied by corporate campaign supporters. It is your responsibility to BC to encourage a diverse, local industry that BC can be proud of, benefit from emerging markets and give people in the industry a future, as well as, benefiting the wilderness tourism industry and wild fisheries.

So my question remains why do we have salmon feedlots in British Columbia?

Direct link to this article by Alexandra Morton - HERE

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