Environmentalists critical over fish farm sea lion deaths – Fishupdate.com

Environmentalists critical over fish farm sea lion deaths Published:  23 April, 2007

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have renewed their calls for the aquaculture industry to move to closed systems, following the news that 51 sea lions have drowned at a British Columbia salmon farm.

According to Canadian media reports, the California sea lions drowned after becoming trapped in the nets of a fish farm on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

General Manager of Creative Salmon, Spencer Evans is reported to have said that he thinks the sea lions chewed through the predator net,

and then got stuck after getting through the shark guard attached to the bottom of the grower net.

He called it an unfortunate incident, saying it’s the first time in 16 years of operation that Creative Salmon has experienced anything like it. He also noted there has been a large increase in the sea lion population in the area over the past 18 months.

Commenting, Andrea Kavanagh, Director of the Pure Salmon Campaign, said: “These 51 sea lion deaths are a tragedy, but unfortunately not surprising. When fish farmers contribute to the depletion of our oceans’ bait fish, marine mammals are forced to look for a new food supply. Naturally, they’ll turn to a pen full of hundreds of thousands of factory farmed salmon.

“This should be a wake-up call to the aquaculture industry. Instead of continually pouring money into a broken system, it’s finally time to start researching a new closed system that will be better for the planet and their pocketbooks.”

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