We can and will have sustainable, contained aquaculture
With the transition away from open net-pen fish farms by 2025 mandated, now is our opportunity in B.C., not only to modernize our aquaculture industry but to become global leaders in the practice while doing it.
Here’s our guiding principles for a
reasonable and collaborative transition:
1. Moratorium on new leases and licenses for open net-pen fish farms.
2. Ensure no PRV-infected smolts are allowed for stocking fish farms.
3. Require a commitment of conversion to closed containment fish farms for all license & lease renewals.
4. Incent conversion of existing open net-pen fish farms to closed containment operations.
5. Facilitate skills training and industrial assistance to allow current fish farm workers to retrain for sustainable farming practices.
6. Expeditiously remove open net-pen fish farms from traditional Indigenous territories where the appropriate Indigenous authority requests removal.
7. Open and transparent audit of farming practices.
While there is significant work to do as planning for the transition away from open net-pen fish farms towards closed containment technology gets underway, there are companies in North America already working towards the future of sustainably farmed salmon. Proven technologies such as land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are making exciting advancements in the industry.
The ‘Namgis First Nation in B.C. was one of the first to recognize the facts and set out to test the feasibility of closed containment farming as a sustainable alternative. They launched Kuterra – a pilot-scale venture to grow Atlantic salmon on land and only the 2nd operation of its kind in the world at the time. Kuterra salmon are grown in a land-based RAS facility on Northern Vancouver Island. Fish are raised in a carefully controlled environment, which eliminates the need for antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. The energy-efficient system also cleans and recirculates 98% of the water used in its operations. Fish farm waste is turned into nutrient-rich organic compost. As a result, Kuterra has been successfully growing and selling quality, salmon at a premium market price for more than five years.
Learn more about Kuterra at http://www.kuterra.com/
Founded in 2010, Atlantic Sapphire started with a vision to lead the salmon farming industry towards a more sustainable future. Having already successfully produced over 25 generations of Atlantic salmon in a land-based RAS operation in Denmark, the company is expanding its operations with a commercial Bluehouse project in Homestead, FL.
Many aspects of Bluehouse project were designed with sustainability in mind. The waste generated by the Bluehouse is used as fertilizer and renewable biogas energy. 99% of the water used is recycled and reused. And since salmon are born, raised and processed in one location, the overall carbon footprint is lowered as well.
Learn more about Atlantic Sapphire at https://atlanticsapphire.com/
Kuterra and Atlantic Sapphire are two examples of what can happen when environmental and economic sustainability come together. Investing in land-based closed containment farms will sustain jobs while protecting our wild Pacific salmon.
Thanks to your help, we have seen real, bold progress take hold in Canada.
During the 2019 federal election in Canada, we asked candidates in B.C. to pledge their support to a transition away from open net-pen farming in our coastal waters, with appropriate incentives to transition the industry to sustainable closed containment aquaculture by 2025. in less than 30 days, 125 candidates across all major parties signed our Pledge, with representation from every riding in B.C.
That’s 74% of all B.C. candidates tracked.
Additionally, more than 1,500 emails were sent to B.C candidates using our Pledge Tracker.
You can view the full results here.
This was quickly followed by the federal government putting Wild First and pledging to work with British Columbia and Indigenous communities to create a plan for transition from open net-pen fish farms in our coastal waters by 2025.