Halting aquaculture woes

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B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen’s judicial inquiry report The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye, concluded that there should be no more open-cage finfish aquaculture farms approved until it can be scientifically proved that they have no negative impact on wild sockeye stocks.

It is the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s (SCNL) opinion that the same should hold true for open-pen finfish farming on the Newfoundland and Labrador coast with respect to our wild Atlantic salmon. There is no need to duplicate the three year, $25-million inquiry and a three-volume 1,000 page report.

Atlantic salmon stocks have been severely impacted wherever finfish aquaculture fish farms have been introduced near migrating rivers of wild Atlantic salmon.

Outer Bay of Fundy salmon stocks, destroyed; Nova Scotia salmon stocks, destroyed; in Newfoundland, Conne River’s wild Atlantic salmon stocks have been destroyed and are now listed as being “threatened” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. It’s the only such river in Newfoundland — and the only river where we have finfish farming at the river mouth.

We plead with the government to stop approving any additional finfish farms in Newfoundland and Labrador’s coastal waters until the aquaculture fish farming industry can scientifically prove they have no detrimental effect on wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

Don Hutchens


Salmonid Council of

Newfoundland and Labrador

Organizations: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife, HutchenspresidentSalmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic, Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia Conne River Canada

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Recent comments

  • Dallas Weaver
    December 02, 2012 - 10:17

    As an expert in recycle land based aquaculture, I look forward to designing salmon aquaculture systems next to the markets in the US. They would be economical if I didn't have to compete with net pens with their lower carbon footprints, lower capital costs and similar labor costs. Once you cleanup the waste from the water so you don't pollute the local area, you can reuse the water and temperature control becomes a trivial issue. You can grow salmon near any markets with the production independent of the ocean or cold water. A minor side effect of Don's suggestion would be elimination of any salmon production businesses and associated jobs, but that must be what he want. It is not his job that he is going to destroy.

  • BloggDiss
    November 30, 2012 - 07:27

    Salmon have been in trouble in NL since the 1970's. People like Don Hutchings have been critical of anything and everything that a salmon encounters except of course the hook of a recreational fisherman. A salmon trying to reach its spawning area must get past low water levels and very warm water conditions that cause stress. Along the way there will be thrill seakers who have been granted a license to inflict additional harrassment. The license to harrass provides the thrill seeker the right to hook and release at their leisure (1 fish or 1000 fish) and to kill a limited number. Strange thing though. In order to bring the fish to shore or on board a boat for a photo op, the fish must be "played out". Note that the term "played out" is really a nice way to say that the thrill seeker has to "exhaust" the fish before it can be reeled in and pitures taken. Don Hutchings is not member of a species that is currently showing declines in abundance but he is quite happy to inflict pain and mortality on a species (salmonoids) that is. Why is he willing to do that? The answer is simple, profit and greed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bill Callahan
      December 01, 2012 - 13:52

      Sure, salmon fishing has some ethical issues and I have often struggled with them over the 20 years I have spent fishing. But this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I've worked in the aquaculture industry, I've spent 10 years breeding fish commercially and I've worked the front end of the pet industry and I can safely say that the pain, mistreatment and death I've seen doled out to the fish in these industries dwarfs anything I have ever witnessed on a salmon river(though I have witnessed some idiotic behavior). Your attack on Mr. Hutchens is Ad hominen and requires no refutation

  • Winston Adams
    November 28, 2012 - 15:09

    I share Phil's concern for a fisheries future. But what of rising ocean temperatures and the effect on salmon? Are we doing enough to roll back CO2? How about 90 km/hr speedlimits which reduses gas consumption by 10 percent? How about surcharges on air travel? We use 8 times more fuel for air travel than by car. And surely the USA and central canada should have high speed trains. A train takes a one ton load almost 500 miles on a gallon of fuel. Our thirst for high car speed and air travel continues to help destroy salmon.

  • phil earle
    November 28, 2012 - 13:30

    How does a concerned person, who loves this place and wants a fisheries future for the coastal people of this province, deal with those who are involved in the Aqu industry. When one spokes women answered Simms question on open line ..."what do you think of the scientific evidence and reports of penned salmon harming wild salmon stocks?" She answered.." Well randy. that cant be true because if it were the government would not allow open net farming in the first place"! Our government behaves the same way today as the smallwood government did in 49 on the fishery and everything else. The people elected them, so they will do what ever they want to do. We have no decmocracy. pe