Mainstream Canada takes heat over new farm

DFO approves new open net pen farm in Canada's Clayoquot Sound.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) and other green groups are coming out against Mainstream Canada’s most recent open net pen salmon farm in Canada’s Clayoquot Sound, which Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) approved on Wednesday.

“DFO calls this new license a ‘replacement’ for another site that has been inactive for 47 out of the last 51 months,” said David Lane, executive director of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. “Replacing a poorly producing site with a site able to greatly expand production of Atlantic salmon in open net-pens along the Bedwell Sound and Fortune Channel corridor is a recipe for disaster for wild salmon.”

Earlier this year Mainstream Canada emptied two of their farm sites in Clayoquot Sound due to confirmation of the IHN virus in their Atlantic salmon. The source was passing wild salmon, they claim.

Testimony was given at the Cohen Inquiry last winter showing evidence of positive test results for the ISA virus at two other Pacific salmon farms in the Sound. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is currently in the first year of a two year pathogen surveillance program of wild and farmed salmon in British Columbia coastal waters. Results are not yet available.

“We are hugely disappointed that DFO took this decision at this time,” said Kelly Roebuck, of the Living Oceans Society. “The Cohen Report is due out in less than a month and the recommendations from that report may have an impact on salmon farming everywhere in B.C., not just along the migration routes of Fraser River sockeye.“