VANCOUVER – Kegan Pepper-Smith, Ecojustice lawyer, issued the following statement in regards to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan’s decision to keep open-net fish farms open in the Discovery Islands in British Columbia:
“We are disappointed that Minister Jordan will not be closing open-net fish farms in the Discovery Islands as recommended in the Cohen Commission’s final report on the collapse of Fraser River sockeye salmon runs. The Minister appears to have ignored the science demonstrating harm to justify her decision.
“While the government has signalled it intends to take a collaborative approach to decision-making around the future of fish farms in the Discovery Islands, anything short of closing open-net fish farms in a timely manner is not enough to aid in the recovery of this keystone species.
“The Discovery Islands are a major migratory path for wild salmon. To continue to allow open-net fish farms to operate in the region — despite the scientific evidence demonstrating that these farms are a breeding ground for contagious diseases, viruses, and parasites — is an irresponsible decision that points to the federal government’s lack of commitment to protecting B.C.’s wild salmon.
“Fraser River sockeye salmon returns are lower than they were when the federal government announced the Cohen Commission’s investigation. Wild salmon cannot wait for the government to continue studying what the science and the Cohen Commission has already concluded: Fish farms pose a risk to the survival of wild salmon. It’s time to get them out of B.C’s waters.”
Venetia Jones, communications specialist | Ecojustice
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