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Aquaculture rules fail to protect wild salmon

Staff Writer | October 13, 2016
In a new study, Gardner Pinfold Consultants has found regulation of salmon aquaculture in Canada, Maine, and Norway does not meet international standards for the protection of wild fish.
Wild salmon
Aquaculture   No jurisdiction fully meets minimum requirements
Laws and regulations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Maine, and Norway were surveyed and compared to select criteria from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard.

The results show no jurisdiction fully meets these minimum requirements for the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon and other species.

The ASC Salmon Standard is internationally recognized as a guideline for sustainable and socially responsible aquaculture. It was developed over an eight-year period with participation from industry, governments, and conservation organizations.

“Open net-pen salmon farming can spread disease and parasites to wild salmon, and when escapees breed with wild populations it alters the gene pool,” said ASF President Bill Taylor. “This new analysis shows regulators are not doing enough monitoring and are not sharing information with the public.”

ASF is calling for consistent, high, standards across all salmon farming jurisdictions. Cooperative agreements already exist between the Canadian federal government and provinces, also internationally between Canada, Norway, and the United States.

These agreements should be used to harmonize regulatory protection for wild fish so that all producing regions meet or exceed the ASC standard.

Many salmon aquaculture companies operate in multiple jurisdictions at once. When a company can meet the higher standards of Norway for example, it is reasonable to expect the same in provinces like New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.