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Decision to Not Reopen Hearings Supported by Salmon Farmers

CANADA - The decision to not re-open hearings of the Cohen Commission based on recent claims by anti-aquaculture activists is supported by BCs salmon farmers.

Considering the huge amount of information already before Justice Bruce Cohen and the ongoing effort to review evidence and create the final report, the BC Salmon Farmers Association agrees with the dismissal.

We feel that Justice Cohen has before him the information he needs to give a thorough review regarding the health of our Fraser River Sockeye, said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, which has been a formal participant in the commission process.

Last month, the Aquaculture Coalition another participant group in the hearings - applied to re-open the hearings following results of testing done on fish purchased at a grocery store. The BCSFA has publicly raised concerns about the testing, the source and quality of the samples, and of the extensively publicized misrepresentations of the test results; however the association took a neutral position on whether or not the hearings should be re-opened as a result.

Experts on fish disease have been important witnesses through this commission and Justice Cohen has been given a lot of information about many different possible impacts to fish health, said Ms Walling.

These most recent topics raised by anti-aquaculture campaigners were raised in previous hearings of the commission, as were many other topics such as changing ocean conditions, habitat management, commercial fishing, Aboriginal fisheries, effects of contaminants in the Fraser River and more.

The Cohen Commission, which was established in 2009, wrapped up hearings in December 2011, and has a deadline of 30 September to complete their final report. BC Salmon Farmers are eager to see the final outcome after nearly two years of extensive engagement from their members.

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