BC Salmon Farmers ready for Cohen Commission's aquaculture hearings – Fishupdate.com

BC Salmon Farmers ready for Cohen Commission’s aquaculture hearings Published:  23 August, 2011

The BC Salmon Farmers Association says it is ready for the aquaculture hearing days.

After months of hearings on the decline of the Fraser River Sockeye salmon and a wide range of possible impacts including fisheries management, habitat protection, the Sockeye lifecycle etc., it is now aquaculture’s turn as the topic of focus.

Members of the BCSFA are scheduled to appear as witnesses on August 31, September 7 and 8, and representatives from the association will attend all nine days of hearings.

“We have been actively participating in the Cohen Commission process since it started nearly two years ago and we are ready to help correct the misconceptions and misinformation regarding our BC salmon farms,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

To assist in the commission’s process, the BCSFA has provided all of the information that the Cohen Commission requested, including years of raw data about fish health on BC salmon farms.  This information was previously also released to the public through ongoing reports by regulators.

“Justice Bruce Cohen has covered a lot of ground in his inquiry into the decline of wild Sockeye salmon, and we will continue to provide assistance wherever we can, to help with his ultimate goal of making recommendations to protect our wild Fraser River Sockeye,” added Walling.

The Commission of Inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River Sockeye salmon was established in November 2009. In April 2010, the BCSFA was granted participant status in the commission, which included aquaculture within its extensive terms of references. Public hearings began in October 2010 and this process continues to examine a number of topics including aquaculture, fish biology, urbanization, logging, hydro, changes in ocean currents and climate change.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association represents farmers as well as those who provide supplies and services to the industry, which employs 6,000 people directly and indirectly and contributes $800-million to the provincial economy each year.