Letter to the editor: MP targets ocean-based salmon farms

B.C. MP Fin Donnelly advises that not only are open-net salmon farms harming our wild salmon, but there is an alternative - closed containment salmon farming. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Denmark and Norway are already building closed-containment farms. Could we not expect, for example, that Marine Harvest, the world's biggest Atlantic salmon producer, based in Bergen, Norway, which operates near five towns in B.C., do the same?

Donnelly's coming private member's bill (an earlier attempt in 2010 failed) would see ocean-based farms move to land-based within five years. He discusses the opportunity for B.C. to become a world technological leader.

Kuterra, B.C.'s land-based Atlantic salmon farm is to be commended, and supported. According to CEO Garry Ullstrom, they are proving that closed containment can work.

I have written letters to Dominic Leblanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and to my MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, herself of aboriginal background, who should have a vested interest in this issue. To date, I have received polite replies from the latter - "share your concern," "funding more research," etc.

There is ongoing foot-dragging here - no one government at fault. But surely the discovery of sea lice, HSMI and other salmon diseases in our B.C. salmon is enough evidence to act now, and start by supporting Donnelly's bill.

And, oh yes, there are still many Canadians today, especially inland, who do not realize that Atlantic salmon are B.C. farmed salmon, and are not from the Atlantic Ocean - a rather deliberately misleading name?

Sonja Townson, Vancouver

Vancouver Sun Article Link: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/letters/oct-22-salmon-living-wage-pot