Fin in the News: Liberals fail to protect wild salmon and B.C.'s waterways

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 6, 2019

LIBERALS FAIL TO PROTECT WILD SALMON AND B.C.’S WATERWAYS

OTTAWA – On Wednesday, NDP Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly was quick to support the Federal Court’s decision to strike down the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans’ policy on piscine orthoreovirus (PRV).  For years Donnelly has been calling on the Liberal government to act on this crucial file affecting wild salmon and British Columbia’s waterways.

“This decision confirms what New Democrats have been saying all along, PRV is a threat to wild salmon and releasing potentially diseased smolts into B.C. waterways could put wild salmon at risk,” said Donnelly.

The court found that DFO’s policy to not test smolts for Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) or Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) prior to allowing fish farmers to release them into open-water aquaculture pens is inconsistent with the precautionary principle and fails to take into consideration the health of Pacific wild salmon. The Department has 4 months to develop a new policy, but Donnelly is calling on the Liberal government to act immediately. 

“Wild salmon are already under threat from climate change and habitat loss. The Liberal government can take immediate action now to protect them from disease and other harmful substances coming from open net salmon farms by applying the precautionary principle,” added Donnelly. “That means when science demonstrates the existence of more than a minimal risk to our wild salmon population, the Minister must take action to protect it, not wait for a court decision.”

Donnelly congratulated biologist Alexandra Morton, the ‘Namgis First Nation and Eco Justice for their relentless defence of wild salmon and their important win for B.C.’s coastal communities, wild salmon and the species that depend on them.

 

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