FEDERAL FISHERIES COMMITTEE BEGINS WEST COAST FISH FARM TOUR

MP Donnelly calls for strengthening the fisheries act by moving to closed containment

COQUITLAM – Today the federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans began their week-long tour of both open net and closed containment aquaculture systems in British Columbia and Washington State to see first-hand the implications of open net salmon farms on wild BC salmon.

“British Columbians are concerned about the environmental damage associated with open net fish farming and the impact on wild salmon. Experts have told us that fish farms can use closed containment systems and be economically viable," said NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody), who has been instrumental in ensuring that the committee visit British Columbia.

"This week we're visiting both open and closed system fish farms and hearing first hand from operators and those with an interest in wild salmon to determine how this transition could be made."

In May, Donnelly introduced Bill C-518, which would strengthen the Fisheries Act by moving harmful open net fish farms to safe closed containment systems while promoting sustainable aquaculture jobs in British Columbia.

Since then, he has been joined by Canadian television and film icon, William Shatner, award-winning salmon activist Alexandra Morton, executive Chef Robert Clark, Chief Bob Chamberlin and over 5000 British Columbians who have signed postcards or the online petition to support his bill.

“I have seen tremendous support for my bill across the province and the country,” said Donnelly. “People want the Harper government to protect our wild salmon. That’s why I encouraged the committee to visit the west coast so members could see first- hand why we need to make my bill law.”