Salmon federation still spreading incorrect information

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Sue Scott of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) continues to spread incorrect information about escapes from Newfoundland and Labrador salmon farms. Her assertions cannot go unchallenged.

We stand by our numbers. In his May 26 commentary, ASF President Bill Taylor wrote that there have been 750,000 reported escapes in Newfoundland in the past decade.

This is simply not true. In fact, there have been escapes of 21,600 salmon, 88,878 trout and 69,827 char in the past 10 years. These numbers have been audited by both the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Newfoundland and Labrador salmon farmers do not want to lose a single fish. Their fish are their livelihood.

Our farmers abide by a code of containment that was implemented in 1999 and has strict guidelines regarding topics such as net strengths and recapture methodologies that has been recognized internationally by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO).

Escapes of farmed salmon were 21,600 since 1999, which is dramatically lower than escape numbers from decades before which speaks to ongoing improvements in our industry and our continuing proactive efforts to improve our methods.  

In fact, over the last ten years escapes represent less than one per cent of the total number of salmon in the water at any one time. Fish farmers do not want to lose their salmon any more than cattle farmers want to lose their cows.  It’s what they sell.

Both the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans oversee our code of containment.

All escape reports are audited by these departments through inventory reconciliations, and the information is shared through an annual compliance report that is provided during an annual meeting of the Aquaculture Liaison Committee (latest meeting held in February 2014) with representatives from municipalities, First Nations, FFAW and the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, of which the Atlantic Salmon Federation is a member.

Perhaps Scott shouldn’t be so quick to toss out allegations about a lack of government transparency and the need for Access to Information requests to get data that is already publicly available and — unlike her numbers — factually correct.

Miranda Pryor

Executive director,

Newfoundland Aquaculture

 Industry Association

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Department of, NASCO, Department of Fisheries and Oceans.Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Liaison Committee First Nations Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Salmon Federation Newfoundland AquacultureIndustry Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • a counter
    June 24, 2014 - 12:15

    Fish lips, all of what I speak about is reported to DFO and CFIA. The problem now is that they will not take calls about this and the CFIA does not return any calls about these legitimate concerns. I am not anti -Aquaculture but started getting concerned about this when all the mess was made and denied by the companies even though it was and a lot of it is still there. There are serious concerns that have been reported to DFO, even Mr. Perry and the provincial departments as well. I have been willing to show them the area and what we are all concerned about. If there were concerns over a person catching and selling cod on the black market the DFO officers would do and have done an undercover operation to get the crooks. When it comes to the aquaculture industry the DFO and the CFIA are dictated to by the government, hence no response. I see your frustrations with these comments we make but we simply can't get the enforcement branches to risk going against government. They are open about that, so what do we do? The problem also is that the industry is not reporting to DFO and government any more but rather the DFO and government are reporting to the industry. If you would like to come down to the coast and have this all pointed out to you by all means let me know how to contact you and we can have this done. I have offered the same to Cyr Courturier, DFO, CFIA and others but no they just call us all liars. You can choose to go with that group or just come on down here.

    • fishlips
      June 25, 2014 - 07:24

      thanks for the clear and sensible response. You should keep up your lobby efforts and contact media if you feel there are legitimate concerns. I defend the industry overall, as its is meant to be run. I can not , will not defend crappy practices of individual companies or lazy government. When done properly there is no significant risk to the environment from salmon farming...but there may be companies and governments not doing things as they should be. I will leave that fight to you since you live in the area. Good luck. However, I would advise you to distance yourself(s) from some of the more vocal, outrageous commentors against salmon farming because they seem to promote fantasy , mythology and complete lies to attack the industry, which deflects from what may be real issues. Eg: when someone claims that there is so much salmon farm debris that someone was even killed by it, which is not true, then the whole notion of there being a debris problem is dismissed by association with that trumped up charge. If your compaints are legit there is no need to use bizarre exagerations like some do.

    • a counter
      June 28, 2014 - 09:06

      I agree that a person was not killed here by salmon/aquaculture debris.I think that was on the north east coast and involved a muscle farm. There were three accidents this winter where snowmobiles were written off, and in tow of the three cases there were very serious injuries. These incidents were preventable. Yet the comapnies, especially Cooke's deny any debris is around.

    • Paul
      June 30, 2014 - 19:36

      get digital pictures that show the location and have a time stamp in image properties. If its on a licenced site that is marked , there is not much can be done. if its outside a licenced site, and or not marked according to legal requirements, then something can be done...provide realistic evidence and call Transport Canada. Call your MP. complaints ought to be investigated and at very least make 'someone' uncomfortable enough they might clean up their practices. if it is as you say, there is no excuse and it should be cleaned up and compensation paid for damages...even legal action taken against the company. note, I defend the ' salmon farming industry' as a whole, not the bad behaviour of some of its participants.

  • Laughable
    June 23, 2014 - 14:48

    @ Paul, by any chance are you talking about the same DFO, who trying to put N & L fisherperson's out of business, DFO is there for only " Big " business,

    • paul
      June 24, 2014 - 07:29

      do you have another research agency in mind? you prefer ASF's made up numbers? its easy to mock and criticize, how about suggesting a workable solution...other than land based farming which is still developmental...not proven commercially viable. If it ever does prove commercially viable the industry will take it on, and leave coastal Canada because they can find land -tank sites closer to markets , cheaper and easier than cage sites way out in NL.

  • Paul
    June 23, 2014 - 08:22

    perhaps the 'proof' will be in the pudding...you can have as many 'earnest' voices as you like, saying how they saw so many thousands of fish escape...they might spin a convinving yarn, they might even be right...but its 'he said, she said' no more. the proof will come when DFO does the work to see what is in the rivers , I beleive they are doing some such work rihgt now. we will see.

  • Sick of the Deceit
    June 21, 2014 - 20:43

    So lets get this straight Mrs Pryor.... the aquaculture farmers are responsible for collecting and reporting escapes to DFO and DFA who both have a mandate to promote aquaculture and together are spending millions of dollars annually to do so; and you want us to believe the escape figures they are providing are accurate because they do their own audit of these escape figures. WOW.....just how gullible do you think we are! The Provincial Minister of Fisheries recently reported in the media that 28,000 salmon escape annually, you say only 21,000 have escaped in the last ten years, and in the same breath go on to say annual escapes only represent 1% of the total number of fish in the water at any one time (15 Million) which is 150,000 escapes annually. Then |DFO says something else. Is it any wonder that no one believes you. I suggest you might like to check the length of your nose if you haven't done so lately Mrs Pryor.... because pinocchio got nothin on you!

  • Paul
    June 21, 2014 - 09:33

    If the ASF and friends were not trying to shut down the industry based on misinformation,mythology and rumour, one might be able to actually discuss issues that face the salmon farming industry that can be improved on. Having said that, I do believe the industry does this already...while I do not believe they are perfect or flawless, no more are they reckless and careless either, on the whole. can't speak for or defend individuals or companies that violate laws and common sense when operating.

  • a counter
    June 21, 2014 - 09:12

    Miranda I live here on the coast and I am around this aquaculture every day. You are wrong and know it. I also know people in the industry who would be the only people who would know when and the numbers of fish that escape. These are the numbers that are passed along to the company managers and then these numbers that are supposed to be passed on to DFO, however you know as well as all of us who are around the sites know that these numbers are fabricated to the government agencies. Don't be so silly as to feed us this false information when we all know better. DFO are rarely every at the site and the CFIA does not spend much more time there. All numbers, morts, escapes, the amount of slice, and other pesticides used are mixed by a designated few from each company who have been very open to the public as to how they add extra chemicals. You also know that some people on site are given authority to add extra as well. If you don't you are the only person. It amazes me how you are the only person who can't see this and really believe that every person on the coast are telling lies. Get over yourself and stop ridiculing us down here. If you and a few others told the truth from the beginning we would have been past this now and would have a cleaner aquaculture industry, even in the open pens and we would have accepted that. You blew it and is gagging to try to restore your own reputation. It is to late for that. When you stand before us people and speak, all we see is a person who is disparate to save yourself from self destruction. All we really need with this industry is someone who can take responsibility and who has no problem being honest with us. You have failed us in that department. The only reason you are still on the payroll is that you are trying hard to save a few companies self destruction and eventual extinction. You should be ashamed.

    • fish lips
      June 24, 2014 - 07:11

      if you say that industry numbers can't be trusted, why should we believe a random anonymous voice saying 'someone told me' that the numbers are significantly higher than industry reports? if people on the South Coast have a real concern about what's going on, complain to authorities, or even the media, don't just make anonymous complaints in the editorial pages. Here your voice will be lost alongside the overinflated , doomsday scenarios misrepresented by some of the louder anti-salmon farming voices in the editorial pages...if your concerns are legitimate, let them see the light. if they are not, keep doing what you are doing.

  • Sick of the Shills
    June 21, 2014 - 08:15

    Someone ought to ask Ms. Pryor what she defines as 'audited. They might also ask how the industry proves that fish have died rather than escaped. While they're at it they might as well ask her how they count the fish going into the pens, and the accuracy of that method. A corner grocer s scrutinized more closely than the operators in this industry.

    • Paul
      June 23, 2014 - 11:58

      you should research how salmon farming works and you will get your answers...its not guess work.