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Klemtu Salmon Farms Get Straight 'A' Environmental Report Card

by the Fish Site Editor
20 April 2006, at 1:00am

CANADA - After reviewing six years of environmental monitoring and reports, the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation confirms its belief that salmon farms can be operated in a sustainable manner, and in a way that respects the environment and First Nations traditions.

Klemtu Salmon Farms Get Straight 'A' Environmental Report Card - CANADA - After reviewing six years of environmental monitoring and reports, the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation confirms its belief that salmon farms can be operated in a sustainable manner, and in a way that respects the environment and First Nations traditions. BCSalmonFarmersLogo.gif

"It is what we hoped for, states Percy Starr, Chief Councillor, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation. We watch these farms very closely and we know our waters. Done properly salmon farming can co-exist with our traditional values.

The three salmon farms near Klemtu 200 km north of Port Hardy are operated in a partnership between Marine Harvest Canada and the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation. Now entering its seventh year, the partnership came about following the collapse of the commercial fishery in the region. The partnership agreement recognizes traditional territory, environmental stewardship and economic development, and stipulates ongoing environmental research.

The independent fisheries team operated by the Kitasoo Band regularly sends divers down to check the ocean floor and marine life in the sea around the farms and notes that biodiversity and abundance of species have not been significantly affected outside of the footprint of the farm. In addition recent Kitasoo research on sea lice interactions with wild salmon and contaminant sampling on wild shellfish close to farms shows little if any effect to date from the salmon farm activities

A recent monitoring project has been a collaborative effort between university researchers and three First Nations Organizations. The project Fish Farm Contaminant Levels in Traditional First Nations Fish and Shellfish resources, investigates the impact of salmon farms on the local food web, specifically traditional food resources. The first report from the study will be published this week in Environmental Science and Technology.

Larry Greba, fisheries director for the Kitasoo Band states We can only comment on results from our area but overall they were reassuring. While mercury appears slightly elevated in rockfish - it remains an issue for further investigation, as for other metals such as cadmium and arsenic, results appear normal. We will continue monitoring with the continued support of our partners. Environment first, economy second that is how business is done in Klemtu all partners agree.

Source: British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association - 20th April 2006

the Fish Site Editor