Mr. Fin Donnelly (Port Moody—Coquitlam, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last month, an open net salmon farm in Washington State released as many as 300,000 Atlantic salmon into the Pacific. Local first nations immediately declared a state of emergency. Washington State immediately imposed a moratorium on new salmon farms, but our federal fisheries minister chose to stand by and “monitor the situation”.

    What will it take for the minister to protect west coast wild salmon and transition these dangerous salmon farms to safe, land-based, closed containment?

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was in British Columbia two weeks ago. I had the privilege to discuss with my new counterpart in the provincial government of British Columbia this important issue. We share the concern of all British Columbians with respect to the escape that took place in the United States. We obviously are working with American authorities to understand exactly how that happened and understand what if any impact it will have in Canadian rivers.

    I can say to all Canadians that my colleagues from British Columbia, and in fact all British Columbians, have made it clear to our government that they want us to do everything possible to ensure that aquiculture can be done safely. We are open to all options to ensure that this can be done.