Fighting for solutions

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
4 July 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - Industry, government and independent researchers have not only failed at reaching a timely consensus on the environmental risk posed by open-net fish farms - they can't agree on possible solutions either.

First Nations communities, independent researchers and environmental groups have long touted a closed-containment system as the solution to the problems caused by open-net fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago.

And, in mid-May the NDP-led legislative committee on sustainable aquaculture released its final report recommending the government mandate all farms to switch to a closed containment system within five years.

But one week later, Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell approved an open-net fish farm application for a site off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Bell could not be reached for comment.

"Open-net cages are just a porous transmitter of diseases, infections, waste ... they are an open invitation to predators - all these things could be avoided if the farms moved to closed containment," said Will Soltau, a Living Oceans Society campaigner living in Sointula, B.C.

"I think it's a reluctance [on the part] of industry to change a system they are comfortable operating with. I think there's a concern that the cost to make the transition would make them uncompetitive in the world market, but that shouldn't [preclude] B.C. from developing a made-at-home solution to the problems that we have here."

Source: 24 Hours Vancouver