Skeena delegation takes fish farm opposition to the B.C. Legislature
(November 17, 2005: Victoria, B.C.)—A five-person delegation will today deliver to the B.C. legislature a petition signed by over 4,000 northwest B.C. watershed residents opposed to fish farms near the mouth of the Skeena River.
The delegation represents the Friends of Wild Salmon—a diverse coalition of concerned citizens, including sport anglers, commercial fishermen, conservationists, and First Nations.
“This petition is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Pat Moss, Coordinator of the coalition, Friends of Wild Salmon. “Skeena residents’ opposition to fish farms is overwhelming.”
A poll conducted in May by McAllister Opinion Research showed 70 percent of local residents oppose fish farms.
Two permits have already been granted for salmon farms at the mouth of the Skeena River, with a third currently awaiting provincial approval.
“The fact that the fish farm issue has brought together such traditionally polarized interests as commercial fishermen, sports anglers and First Nations is tribute to how dire the situation is,” said Moss. “Fish-farm expansion is the political issue on the north coast.”
North Coast MLA Gary Coons will present the coalition’s petition in the B.C. legislature prior to today’s Question Period.
“First Nations up and down the Skeena have made their concerns known. We will not allow fish farms to destroy the wild salmon that sustain us,” said Gerald Amos, a Haisla leader.
Friends of Wild Salmon is calling for a moratorium on open-net pen fish farms until concerns around escapements and sea lice infestations can be adequately addressed.
For more information:
Pat Moss, Coordinator: (250) 877-9745 (cell)
Gerald Amos, Haisla First Nation: (250) 639-0326 (cell)