THE polarised salmon debate in British Columbia is threatening a viable and sustainable food source for the world, Canada’s fisheries minister told business leaders in the province.
The region, a major salmon producing area, has long experienced disputes between its farming companies and activists campaigning on behalf of wild salmon interests.
Jonathan Wilkinson said people will come to the conclusion that there is too much risk and BC should just stop the industry as a whole, SeaWestNews reported.
‘I think this would be a shame for British Columbia…I think this would be a shame for the world in terms of addressing some of the food requirement,’ he said during questions at Vancouver Island’s Economic Alliance Annual Summit in Nanaimo.
‘I think we hear a lot of the time a fair bit of concern in the media and from individual persons about the potential effects that aquaculture may be having on wild salmon.
‘And there is a debate even around a lot of the science, where scientists on one side will say one thing and scientists on another side will be saying another thing… a very confusing situation for the average person that is trying to actually figure out what is right and what is wrong.
‘At the end of the day, protein needs to come from somewhere and so what we need to do is ensure that we are getting to the point where we can actually legitimately say, and convince the average person on the street, that aquaculture is being done in a manner that is environmentally ecologically sustainable such that you have social licence, or whatever you want to call it with an industry that could be bigger than what we have today.
‘I will tell you personally that I believe that aquaculture is part of the solution.’
SeaWestNews reported that the minister had earlier revealed he preferred closed containment solutions in the oceans for fish farming so coastal communities can continue to benefit from aquaculture.
And he said the federal government, with the help of the BC provincial government, plans to launch a study into the type of technology needed to grow the aquaculture industry regionally.
Picture: Federal fisheries minister Jonathan Wilkinson