Salmon Farmers and Government Working Towards Solutions

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
8 May 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) is working with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL), the BC Ministry of Environment (MOE), the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to develop a comprehensive Waste Tissue/Finfish Mortality Contingency Plan for the industry.

The Waste Tissue/Finfish Mortality Contingency Plan is intended to provide for the proper disposal of fish mortalities when volumes exceed those experienced during normal growing operations. Such unexpected volumes of fish mortalities can occur due to natural or man-made events such as contaminated feed, plankton blooms, oil or chemical spills, and disease.

Development of the plan is being funded by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia’s Livestock Waste Tissue Initiative (LWTI). Its successful completion will fulfill the mission of the LWTI which is to enable animal producers in BC “….to dispose of or utilize waste tissue in an efficient, cost effective manner, under normal and emergency situations, while operating in compliance with relevant legislation.” The plan will also satisfy Best Management Practice regulatory requirements of MOE under its Finfish Aquaculture Waste Control Regulation, and Environmental Management Act.

“This is an important focus for the industry” stated Norman Penton, Research and Development Coordinator for the BCSFA. “In the unlikely event of a large scale mortality event in the industry, such as a plankton bloom, we want to be prepared to ensure we are able to deal with this in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The BCSFA, on behalf of its member producing companies, recognized that fish mortality processing capacity and infrastructure must be improved in order to properly handle a mass fish mortality incident should one occur.”

Golder Associates Ltd. of Victoria, BC has been awarded a contract to review current fish farm mortality disposal methods and capacity, to evaluate present capability to respond in the event of an environmental emergency, and identify potential bottlenecks. Golder has been interviewing producers, processors and companies and other stakeholders involved in the disposal process to quantify the existing capabilities. If any problems are identified Golder will work with those organizations in the disposal chain to create solutions that will benefit all stakeholders.