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Canadian Fish Farms Driven to Comply

CANADA - Almost 20,000 fish escaped from fish farms in British Columbia in 2007, and one farm failed to report an escape, according to the provincial government's annual report on compliance in the industry.

But overall, the 82 operational fish farms in the province followed the rules between 90 and 100 per cent of the time, and between 95 and 100 per cent when it came to environmental issues, reports The Vancouver Sun.

"I'm a stickler and I want them all in compliance"
B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture and Lands Stan Hagen

But B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture and Lands Stan Hagen said he wanted better results.

"I'm a stickler and I want them all in compliance," Hagen said in an interview to The Vancouver Sun.

Hagen also said he wanted the number of fish that escape from the farms each year to go to zero.

In 2007, a total of 19,246 fish were estimated to have escaped -- 19,223 Atlantic salmon, 11 chinook salmon and 12 coho salmon -- in 28 separate incidents, the report said. The largest escape was of 19,168 fish from a farm in Clayoquot Sound that was not named in the report.

"It's certainly not where we want it," Hagen said. "I would prefer zero escapements. But the industry is getting better and we're continuing to work with the industry to make sure they're in compliance and stay in compliance."