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Farmed is the Future for BC, says MLA

CANADA - MLA Ron Cantelon is making no apologies for his comments, that suggest commercial fishing of wild salmon should stop and should be done more to promote fish farming.

According to a report listed on, the MLA for Nanaimo-Parksville said his remarks were intended to highlight the growing pressure on BC's wild salmon stocks as international demand grows. He said the province need a more balanced approach in he way its fish industry uses wild and farmed salmon before too much damage is done to wild stock stocks.

"Many remote First Nations communities in the province have seen their fisheries virtually disappear with big trawlers off their coasts scooping up everything in the sea, so fish farming would open up doors of opportunities for these communities," Cantelon said. "If we want to save our wild fish stocks and prevent an event similar to the collapse of the East Coast cod fishery, fish farming should be more accepted."

Last week, New Democrat MLA Scott Fraser has challenged THE Agriculture Minister Pat Bell to denounce Cantelon's comments.

"According to the member for Nanaimo-Parksville, not only is this government not going to implement the aquaculture committee's recommendations, but (he) suggested that BC would be better off ending the commercial wild fishery," Fraser said in the legislature.

Cantelon served as vice-chairman of the province's legislative committee on sustainable aquaculture which tabled its report last May. He said fish farms were blamed for a number of problems in the industry, like causing sea lice infestations on wild salmon stocks that are allegedly decimating them. However, he felt that greater factors such as global warming and shifting migration patterns were also making an impact on wild stocks in some regions. The industry and marine biologists were using science to deal with the issues, he said.

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