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BC's Salmon Farms: Well-Managed and Sustainable

CANADA - The highs and lows of wild salmon populations cannot be explained by one single cause - and the BC Salmon Farmers Association is eager to be part of a larger discussion about what the real issues are.

"We have seen large variations in wild salmon populations as our farm operations remain the same," said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. For example - there was no significant difference in operations between the poor Sockeye return of 2009 and the triumphant return in 2010.

"That tells us that more needs to be considered as we talk about the challenges faced by BC's wild salmon," said Walling.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association has been granted standing for the Cohen Commission Inquiry into the decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon. Along with groups representing a wide range of interests, they will be participating in the evidentiary hearings beginning 25 October to share information about their operations and research, as well as correct erroneous claims.

The message from anti-salmon farm activists during a recent campaign oversimplifies a complex situation. It ignores any effects rising water temperatures, failed plankton blooms, extraordinary algae blooms, logging, mining, development in watershed areas, fisheries and fisheries management or other issues have on the life-cycle of BC's salmon. All of these items are on the list of things Justice Bruce Cohen will be investigating.

In the meantime, BC's salmon farmers continue to grow a healthy product in a sustainable way, while leading the way in research and development and working with environmental groups and the community to find answers to industry questions.

"Salmon farming is a highly-regulated industry that is continually improving," said Ms Walling. "We believe that our well-managed businesses can relieve pressure on wild stocks while contributing to local economies."

The B.C. salmon farming industry, represented by the BCSFA, employs roughly 6,000 people directly and indirectly, contributing $800-million to the provincial economy. Farmed salmon is the province's largest agricultural export.

the Fish Site Editor

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