[acn-l] NANFA-- More Atlantic salmon found in Vancouver Island streams

peter.unmack at asu.edu
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 15:49:38 -0700 (MST)

Of interest

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
August 6, 1999
More farmed salmon offspring found in Vancouver Island streams

VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) -- More offspring of escaped Atlantic salmon
have been found in Vancouver Island streams, reigniting concerns about
environmental hazards of fish farms.
The discovery may also delay the lifting of a provincial moratorium on the
expansion of fish farms.

A provincial stream-monitoring program discovered 42 juvenile Atlantic
salmon in the Amor de Cosmos Creek on northeastern Vancouver Island, the
Fisheries Ministry confirmed Wednesday.
Fourteen were captured for testing. Last August, juvenile Atlantic salmon
were found in the Tsitika River, about 30 miles north of Amor de Cosmos
Creek on the island. That was the first time biologists had found evidence
of naturally spawned Atlantic salmon in British Columbia streams. In
response, the province increased monitoring of Vancouver Island rivers.

"We found exactly what we were looking for," said Fisheries Minister Dennis
Streifel. The implications of the finding aren't clear because there is no
evidence the Atlantic salmon are establishing a viable ocean-traveling
population in the creek. Streifel said tougher regulations preventing salmon
from escaping farms are needed. "I think we have to have a policy of zero
escapees," he said. "I still believe there's a place and a future for
aquaculture on the Island, but it has to be safer than it is today."

The province imposed a moratorium on new salmon farms four years ago because
of environmental concerns about the impact of fish farms on native salmon.
The Atlantic salmon found last week are of two age classes, meaning they
came from different sets of adults. Environmentalists expressed concern that
news of the finding came on the day new federal Fisheries Minister Herb
Dhaliwal called on the province to lift the fish farm moratorium.

"Obviously, the new minister has a lot to learn," said Lynn Hunter of the
David Suzuki foundation. "The reason we have Atlantic salmon spawning in
our streams is because they escape from net cages," Hunter said. "The
province must require the use of closed containment systems before they even
consider lifting the moratorium."

Environmental groups fear the foreign fish will spread disease and compete
with Pacific salmon for food and habitat. There are 81 active fish farms in
British Columbia and 85 percent of the
salmon farmed are Atlantic.

A spokeswoman for the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association said the
industry has responded to environmental concerns with upgraded,
engineer-designed nets and better inspections. "I don't think 14 (captured)
salmon out of a river that has thousands of other fish is a threat to that
river," said Anne McMullin.

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