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BC Salmon: Years of Overproduction Uncovered

CANADA - Years of unlicensed over-production on Mainstream Canadas salmon farms in the beleaguered Broughton Archipelago has been uncovered by the Living Oceans Society.

“This demonstration of contempt for Canadian regulations by Norwegian multinational Cermaq, Mainstream’s parent company, and Cermaq’s major shareholder, the Government of Norway, is appalling,” said Catherine Stewart, Living Ocean’s Salmon Farming Campaign Manager. “The fact that this has been allowed to continue for at least six years indicates a massive failure of enforcement and management on the part of the B.C. government.”

"The fact that this has been allowed to continue for at least six years indicates a massive failure of enforcement and management"
Catherine Stewart, Living Ocean’s Salmon Farming Campaign Manager

Living Oceans Society was alerted to the over-production by one line in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL’s) annual “Compliance Report” on marine finfish aquaculture. Buried in the standard claims of overwhelming compliance by industry was the statement, “Eight sites were found to be in excess of their production limit.” The report failed to identify the responsible company, the sites or the extent of over-production.

Although salmon farms operate in ocean waters belonging to all Canadians, it is next to impossible to obtain details on their permitted, licensed production and actual production.

After much research, Living Oceans Society verified that in two 18-month production cycles between 2001 and 2003, Mainstream exceeded licensed production on their Broughton farms by 9,490 metric tonnes (mt). From 2004 to 2006, inclusive, the over production was 13,594 mt, almost double their licensed limit.

Assuming two production cycles over three years, the maximum amount Mainstream could legally produce on all their Broughton salmon farms combined would be 14,620 mt. From 2004 to 2006 Mainstream’s actual production was 28,214 mt.

“Cermaq/Mainstream is currently applying for license renewals on many of these same farms,” Stewart said. “Living Oceans Society is calling on the B.C. government to levy heavy fines against this Norwegian corporation’s violation of our regulations, and to renew the company’s licenses only if the permits are for closed containment operations.”

MAL has told Living Oceans Society the violations are being addressed. The company will now be held to their licensed production levels. However, there has been no mention of disciplinary action or penalties.