North Coast Saved From Fish Farms!

March 27, 2008 (Smithers, BC)—BC Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell’s announcement today that there will be no salmon farms in northern BC waters is a cause for all British Columbians to celebrate, says Friends of Wild Salmon (FOWS). The announcement follows the BC government passing a Cabinet Order in Council making the BC coast north of Klemtu off limits to finfish aquaculture.

“We are grateful that the BC government has listened to the thousands of northerners who spoke out to protect our wild salmon from fish farms,” said FOWS chairperson Gerald Amos. “Today’s announcement means there’s a greater chance we will succeed in protecting wild salmon for future generations.”

Since 2005, Friends of Wild Salmon has led a unified public outcry against salmon farms that brought together First Nations, conservationists, commercial fishermen, anglers, and local municipalities. Over 7,000 people signed declarations calling for a moratorium. Polling confirmed that over 70 percent of northerners oppose fish farms.

“It’s remarkable that we managed to bring together people who rarely agree on fishing issues but who in this case were willing to work together to protect Skeena wild salmon,” said FOWS founder Andrew Williams.

“The province is right to acknowledge the important and unique nature of the Skeena River and its wild salmon,” said Des Nobels, a former commercial fisherman and FOWS executive member.

The Skeena River is Canada’s second largest salmon fishery. A 2006 study by IBM Business Consulting showed that Skeena wild salmon generate close to $110 million annually in direct revenue.

“Today’s announcement is not just a win for wild salmon, it’s also a win for our wild salmon economy which continues to be so important in our region,” said Nobels.

FOWS recognizes the ongoing problems with southern B.C. fish farms. 

“While we are relieved that there will be no fish farms in the North, we will continue to support our neighbours in southern BC who are struggling to protect wild salmon from the impacts of fish farms,” said Amos.

For more information, please contact:
Pat Moss, Coordinator for Friends of Wild Salmon, (250) 847-9693
Gerald Amos (250) 635-1564  
Andrew Williams (250) 635-1853  
Des Nobels (250) 627-1859

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