Rolling the dice on aquaculture

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Largely due to public investment, farmed finfish production in our province has exploded. But what does government really know about this industry?

This year we learned of a disease that infected ready-to-market salmon that had to be destroyed. Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) occurs in the wild and kills salmon.

We are told by the provincial government that these fish were infected by wild fish that they were exposed to in the ocean-based cages.

Others claim the strain of ISA is new and more likely came from the farmed fish and now may be released into the wild.

A review concerning the use of ocean-based cages discloses numerous concerns surrounding non-contained aquaculture sites, such as open-pen cages.

This creates notorious breeding grounds for sea lice, which often kills the fish. Also, practices associated with this are detrimental to the environment.  

Clearly, the aquaculture industry offers potential for huge benefits to our economy and even more so to our economically depressed rural economies. However, there are enormous ecologic and economic risks.

Without adequate regulation we may be unleashing an ecological disaster from which we may never recover. The Chilean finfish aquaculture industry was devastated by disease.

We do not want that outcome here with the loss of tens of millions of public dollars and the unemployment that would result from such a catastrophe.

Government must take the following actions: immediately freeze any growth in open-cage finfish aquaculture until all risks have been identified and eliminated or mitigated.

As well, we should begin to move the finfish aquaculture industry to contained units so as to reduce or eliminate any risk to fish habitats in our province.


Jim Bennett

MHA St. Barbe

Liberal fisheries critic

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Recent comments

    January 09, 2013 - 07:27

    I cannot comment on farmed salmon, compared to salmon raised in the wild, I do not know the survival rate of wild salmon eggs, But it appears that farmed raised salmon are developing a disease,I have a paper that was put out by the Dept. of Fisheries 30+ years ago on cod fish, that tells of how one cod egg in a million survives to become an adult fish, now i read of a disease in farmed raised salmon? I think that the only way to help rebuild the salmon and the fish stock is with the use of a Government financed fish hatchery, where cod eggs and salmon eggs can be hatched and when the small fish salmon or cod fish reach a set size then those fish should be released into protected coves or bays so that the salmon and fish stock would have a chance to rebuild its self , If a Cod fish survival rate was one in a million in a paper i have printed by the dept of Fisheries 30+ years ago when fish were plenty, How low must it be now? The only way to rebuild the fish stock be it Salmon Or COD is with the use of a fish hatchery, Where cod fish eggs survival rate can be" WITH THE HELP OF A FISH HATCHERY INCREASED FROM ONE IN A MILLION TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN A MILLION AND THE SMALL HARBOURS AND BAYS RESTOCKED WITH Young Fish