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Fish farms slammed

CANADA - Wild salmon advocates on both coasts have targeted aquaculture operations, calling for major changes within the farmed-salmon industry.

The New Brunswick-based Atlantic Salmon Federation said it and 32 other conservation groups in six countries want open-net salmon operations moved 30 kilometres away from the mouths of wild salmon rivers.

The ASF said wild salmon returns in 32 rivers flowing into the Bay of Fundy have declined from 40,000 in the 1980s to fewer than 100 today. The group blamed salmon farms for the decline.

"There is a comprehensive body of research proving negative impacts of salmon farming on wild salmon, including parasites, disease and weakening of the wild gene pool when farmed salmon escape and interbreed," the ASF said.

At the same time, from the West Coast 18 prominent scientists -- including David Suzuki, Wade Davis, of the National Geographic Society and Boris Worm, a biologist at Halifax's Dalhousie University -- wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell warning that B.C. wild salmon populations would decline if farmed salmon isn't "quarantined."