Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Huge salmon farm escape reinforces urgent need for action on closed containment

October 23, 2009

SOINTULA, B.C. – Just days after the Norwegian government reported a 380 percent increase in escapes from open net-cage fish farms over this time last year, Marine Harvest Canada has admitted to another mass escape of approximately 40,000 farmed salmon in the beleaguered Broughton Archipelago.


“We knew something was up when I received a call this morning from a gillnetter who’d been fishing north of Malcolm Island and catching numerous Atlantic salmon,” said Will Soltau, Living Oceans Society’s Salmon Farm Campaign Local Coordinator. “Everything pointed to yet another large escape from an open net-cage farm.”

This morning Marine Harvest reported the Atlantics had escaped on October 21 from their open net-cage farm at Port Elizabeth near Gilford Island. The fish were close to harvest weight, an average of 4.7 kilos.

“This demonstrates once again the urgent need to transition all open net-cage farms to closed containment systems,” said Soltau. “This will be a major financial loss to the company and another blow to the health of our marine ecosystems and wild salmon populations. Closed containment could have prevented both.”

Living Oceans Society and its allies in the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to support a closed containment innovation and development fund and facilitate a transition of all open net-cages to closed systems. Investment in new green technology innovations will not only foster job creation in B.C. but eliminate the ever-present threat of escapes from open net cage systems.

Three Norwegian corporations own 90 percent of all farms in the province. One of them, Grieg Seafoods, lost over 132,000 fish in an escape from a Norwegian farm this year. Escaped farm salmon have already been found in more than 80 B.C. river systems and populations of feral juvenile Atlantic salmon have been discovered at three locations in B.C.



Will Soltau
, Salmon Farm Campaign Local Coordinator, 
Living Oceans Society, 
Phone: 250-973-6580