Protest planned over new salmon farm

MEMBERS of a Vancouver Island First Nation group are vowing to risk arrest rather than allow an international fish farming company to anchor an open-net salmon farm north of Tofino.

Members of the Ahousaht First Nation say they set up a boat blockade last Wednesday at the site of the new farm, owned by Norwegian based Cermaq.

The Ahousaht say the company holds 17 salmon farm tenures in Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and applied for two new tenures in the same area last year, the Nanaimo Daily News reported last week.

The First Nation believes the applications signal a new round of fish farm expansion on the West Coast, with the Ahousaht Fish Farm Committee predicting a four-fold increase in the industry over the next 15 years.

Protesters oppose any new fish farms in the area.

They fear possible diseases bred in fish within the open nets could be passed to clam beds or wild salmon travelling to and from nearby spawning rivers.