For years, industrial fish farms have been blamed for a decline in wild salmon. Last week, Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans Minister announced to close them.
For years, industrial fish farms have been blamed for a decline in wild salmon. Last week, Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans Minister announced she would close 15 of them in the Discovery Islands. It’s a group of islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The area is regarded as a major highway for wild juvenile salmon swimming towards the ocean.
Many experts believe the decline in wild salmon is partially caused by sea lice picked up by juvenile salmon as they pass the fish farms on their way to the ocean. For years, First Nations and environmentalists have been calling for the closure of the farms to protect the salmon population.
Hot Politics host David McKie spoke with Murray about her “precautionary approach” to the situation.
The abundance of wild salmon have been at record lows, said Murray. “There are so many stresses that they are under with climate change, habitat loss, illegal and unregulated overfishing,” she added. “I needed to take a precautionary approach in this decision to protect wild salmon.”
Murray said she consulted various stakeholders before making the announcement, including aquaculture firms, First Nations who had partnerships with them, and other communities that rely on the fish from the region.
She also got advice from her department, and acknowledged a controversy over a recent report that got her attention. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans report said that sea lice on wild salmon was not associated with the fish farms.
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Soon after, she received a letter signed by 16 scientists and professors calling that report bad science.
You can hear David’s conversation with two of those scientists and Minister Murray on the seventh episode of Hot Politics — on Apple Podcast or Spotify.
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