Aquaculture for all

BC Salmon Farmers Assoc Has Cause to Celebrate

Salmonids Economics +2 more

CANADA - With record pink returns in various rivers along the British Columbia (BC) coast, the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) had more than its 25th anniversary to celebrate at the association's Annual General Meeting yesterday.

The high returns demonstrate that despite all the factors that have contributed to reduced Pacific salmon returns throughout the Pacific Northwest – including changing water temperatures and conditions as well as impacts created by forestry, mining, agriculture, urbanisation and water impoundments – there is hope that better ocean conditions can turn the tide on this decline and result in healthier returns for all salmon species. Significantly, healthy pink salmon returns in BC's main salmon farming areas show that sea lice management as practiced by BC salmon farms does work to minimise effects of farming operations on wild populations.

These management practices are just part of a solid regulatory framework which combined with strong product demand, dedicated outreach efforts and strong partnerships has contributed to a sustainable salmon farming industry in BC.

In her speech, BCSFA executive director, Mary Ellen Walling, discussed how transparency and accountability have taken an already strong BC industry to the next level.

She said: "We open our books, we open our doors, we fund research, we engage with our critics, we acknowledge the importance of continuous improvement and we work for solutions. We define that as accountability. And we believe it is a critical attribute."

Recognising that the BCSFA is only as strong as its members, Ms Walling thanked BCSFA members and the "many men and women who work in aquaculture in BC and act as our ambassadors providing positive role models for our industry within their families and communities".

In 2008, farmed salmon was BC's largest agricultural export. According to an April 2009 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, salmon farming's economic output was over $800 million and total employment was more than 6,000. Total annual production is over 80,000 tonnes. Most of the province's salmon farms are located in coastal communities, creating jobs and economic development in areas of high unemployment.

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