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BC special committee panned in Port Hardy

PORT HARDY - The salmon farming industry would be destroyed if the recommendations from the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture are accepted, says the council.

“We should write a letter to the Premier encouraging the government to reject the committee’s recommendation. They could destroy the industry,” said Port Hardy Councillor Bev Parnham.

His comments were in response to an open letter to the fish farming industry from the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).

A formal motion was approved after a discussion, sparking a letter to BC Premier Gordon Campbell.

“Our community is partly sustained by both aquaculture and wild fishery and we have an interest in both fisheries being environmentally and economically healthy,” wrote Mayor Hank Bood. “Council would like to go on record as not supporting the recommendations of the Special Committee as they do not provide viable options to the aquaculture industry," he added.

The Port Hardy Council beleives that the committee could have been the catalyst to bring industry, government and environmentalists into a close, co-operative working relationship. Such a relationship could have gone a long way towards establishing British Columbia as a leader in both aquaculture development and environmental protection, it says.

The BCSFA letter states that the region entered into this process with a degree of skeptical optimism as it understood that the NDP had targeted the industry during the last provincial election campaign, it was skeptical about their motives.

It says that if the the salmon industry could engage the committee in a constructive way and provide open access to them ... then they would see a sustainable industry and a bright future for British Columbians on the Coast.

Yet despite all efforts by the Associateion, the NDP led committee proposed sweeping changes to the industry, which if accepted by the BC Liberals will create a very difficult situation for all salmon farming companies in the province.