Submission 0665-ROBSON

Submitter: Sandra Robson

Community: Qualicum Beach

Date Submitted: August 30, 2023

Open pen fish farming is detrimental. Fish farming has huge potential but only on land within contained and separate systems.

Thank you for taking time to hear my concerns in considering the issue of commercial ocean-based fish farms and their impact on wild salmon stocks along the British Columbia coastline. I felt compelled to take some time today to lend my voice to a growing and concerned group of citizens in this province who are asking that ocean-based fish farms on our coastline be removed.

First let me state my particular biases in how I have come to consider the question of fish farming. I am a small business owner currently living in Qualicum Beach, a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and an active parent and member of my community. I have lived most of my life on Vancouver Island, a place where salmon have traditionally been one of the many resources harvested to create a vibrant and thriving economy. For much of my childhood, our family lived in Port Alberni where forestry jobs were the norm and fishing was a common activity, both commercially and recreationally. In fact, my husband and youngest son recently returned from a day of fishing in the Alberni inlet with a beautiful 20 lb salmon that we shared with neighbours and enjoyed for dinner.

I support policies that allow individuals and companies to create jobs and generate economic health for our families. I believe that a healthy business sector is good for everyone, provided it does not generate a climate or conditions that detract from or endanger the environmental and social health of our communities. And I have come to believe that open-pen, ocean-based fish farming is detrimental to the health of wild salmon, and the individuals, communities and ecosystems that depend upon them.

Farming as an economic and human activity is vital, and fish farming has huge potential… ON LAND within contained and separate systems. All farming puts certain strains upon the environment in which it is undertaken. That is why there are regulations in place to protect surrounding ecosystems and the places in which we live. Agricultural areas are protected, but we are also protected from them. We do not allow ranchers to graze their cattle on school playing fields, and pig farms do not get approved to set up shop in residential neighbourhoods. Salmon farms can, and are, being successfully established in land-based container systems and this is where I believe the future of a healthy (for all of us) industry lies.

We don’t need wild salmon because they are beautiful (although they are), or because we are nostalgic for the times we went fishing with our dads (although I am)…we need wild salmon because they are a vital part of the culture, commerce and community along our vast coastline. I cannot in all good conscience remain silent when all of that is endangered, and there is a solution at hand.

Thank you again for your time.

Yours truly,
Sandra Robson

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