Submitter: Rachel McMillen
Date Submitted: September 7, 2010
Open net cage fish farms promote disease in wild salmon populations, pollute the sea floor and privatize coastal areas, which prevents Canadians from accessing what is legally theirs. Fish farming, which provides revenue from both licences and employment, can be done just as successfully on land. Land based fish farming would increase employment of fishermen and cannery workers and protect wild salmon.
Let’s me start out by being very clear. I am a Canadian grandmother with three children and seven grandchildren. I live near the ocean. I swim in it. I sail on it. I walk alongside it. I paddle across it. I eat fish from it. A lot of fish. All kinds of fish. All of it wild. I have travelled most of this province both by land and by sea and I consider it to be one of the most beautiful and blessed places on earth. Not only do I want to see its beauty and its natural resources preserved, I want to see it husbanded and cherished. I think that doing so may not only provide for future generations of Canadians but may be critical for the health of this planet.
That brings me to fish farming. I have no problem with fish farming – as long as it is not done in open net cages. Open net cages set in pristine bays – or in any bays or channels – are in complete contradiction of the preservation and husbanding of any part of this province, either earth or ocean. Not only do they promote disease in wild populations of salmon, they pollute the sea floor and, in essence, “privatize” some of most beautiful areas of Canada and thus prevent Canadians from accessing what is theirs by law. Fish farming, which certainly provides desirable revenue for the province both in terms of licences and employment, can be done just as successfully from closed tanks located on land. That way, disease and pollution can be prevented and additional revenue can be obtained by the licencing of fish boats and the increased employment of fishermen and cannery workers. That way, wild salmon runs are protected which of course means that creeks and rivers and streams throughout the province stay healthy as do the eagles, bears and other wildlife that depend on the return of the salmon for their survival. That way, our province stays healthy and vibrant and alive. That way we both preserve and promote our natural resources.
Will the fish farm companies whine and complain? Of course they will. It will cost them to move to a closed containment system. Oh well. It cost to move to the printing press from the quill and it cost to replace the horse with the automobile and it cost to put milking machines on dairy farms but they are all still with us. What will cost a whole lot more is to lose our salmon and our ocean and our rivers and all that they provide. In fact it may be that it will be the ultimate cost to all of us.
Let us put greed and lobby groups and government machinations aside and replace it with intelligent, thoughtful decisions that benefit all of us.