Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Mainstream Canada misinforms public on new salmon farm application in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve

August 31, 2011

VANCOUVER ─ A new open net-cage salmon farm proposed by Mainstream Canada near Plover Point in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve seeks to more than triple the size of the farm it will replace. The company has been characterizing the farm as a “replacement” site for their Cormorant tenure. But after protracted delays, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has made existing B.C. aquaculture licences public, revealing the old Cormorant site has roughly one-quarter of the production capacity of the Plover Point proposed ‘replacement’.

DFO has stated decisions on new salmon farm applications or significant production increases at existing sites will largely be postponed until they consider the recommendations of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the decline of Fraser sockeye. However, documents entered into evidence at the Inquiry on Wednesday included a July, 2011 DFO memo containing a specific recommendation to make an exception for the Plover Point application.

“This application would lead to a massive increase in production, violating the spirit and intent of the Biosphere Reserve,” said Catherine Stewart, Living Oceans Society’s Salmon Farming Campaign Manager. “Given the evidence emerging at the Inquiry of recurring disease incidents in B.C.’s net-cage farms, the B.C. government must deny the tenure and push Mainstream to adopt new, less environmentally harmful technology such as closed containment.”

Stewart is scheduled to testify at the Cohen Commission hearings on September 7th and 8th.

Mainstream’s application raised concerns from the start, given that the proposed site would be twice the area of the one being replaced, but until this week no more information was available about the Cormorant farm other than it had been active for only four months since January 2008 as a nursery site. Now that DFO has finally populated their aquaculture web pages with licencing information it appears that Mainstream has been far from transparent about what constitutes a replacement.

“This proposal for a huge increase in open net-cage production cannot logically be viewed as having potential for a decreased environmental footprint, as DFO is claiming in the July memo,” said Will Soltau, Salmon Farming Research Coordinator for Living Oceans Society. “A farm at this site would also displace existing commercial and recreational users. We are asking people to go to our website and send a message to the Premier to deny this application and any future open net-cage salmon farming applications.”

Mainstream’s public invitation to an Open House in Tofino stated that the proposed 55.7 hectare tenure near Plover Point in Fortune Channel will be a replacement site for their 20.7 hectare Cormorant tenure north of Meares Island. The Cormorant site is currently licenced for a maximum production of only 850 metric tonnes. Mainstream is proposing the maximum standing biomass of farmed Atlantic salmon at the Plover Point site would be 3,300 metric tonnes per cycle.



Catherine Stewart, Salmon Farming Campaign Manager

Will Soltau, Salmon Farming Research Coordinator


  • Plover Pt. in Clayoquot Sound