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Concern Raised Over Salmon Management

CANADA - The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL) are very concerned that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has failed to implement legislation and to update and complete management plans and codes of practice that are necessary to support an orderly and sustainable expansion of Atlantic salmon aquaculture in southern Newfoundland.

“We hope that the provincial government heeds a report by the Auditor General of Newfoundland and Labrador, outlining deficiencies in the present management of this industry, and takes steps to improve. This industry can have serious negative impacts on the province’s wild salmon populations, and the Auditor General’s report confirms that our concerns with an aquaculture industry that began in Bay d’Espoir and is expanding to Fortune Bay and Placentia Bay are justified,” said Don Ivany, Regional Director of ASF.

It is especially discouraging that the Code of Containment is deficient as lack of good containment leads to break up of cages and escapes of farmed salmon into the wild. This results in interactions with wild salmon in nearby salmon rivers and threatens the survival of these fish that are already in decline. There has been a noticeable reduction in returns to the rivers nearby the aquaculture sites, such as the Grey and Conne rivers. Where many Newfoundland rivers had very good runs in 2008, much improved over 2007, these southern rivers did not do as well and Fisheries and Oceans are concerned at their continuing unhealthy state.

Negative interactions between farmed and wild salmon have been scientifically documented and include both ecological interactions and genetic impacts of inter-breeding. Inter-breeding of farmed with wild salmon can result in reduced lifetime reproductive success, lowered fitness and decreased population productivity over at least two generations. Wild salmon can also become infected with disease and parasites spread from farmed fish.

“We urge the province to provide adequate infrastructure to support current and future expansion of the industry. It must act quickly to finalize an aquaculture health management plan, and implement a comprehensive inspection system to discourage flaunting of the rules, which the Auditor General indicates presently lack the power of effective legislation,” concluded Mr. Ivany.

the Fish Site Editor

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