Eighteen months (June 2022) from now, open-net fish farms – and the risk they pose to wild salmon – will be gone from the Discovery Islands.
In a surprise announcement last week, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Bernadette Jordan said the government will phase out salmon farms in this area of British Columbia and won’t allow new farms of any size. She also re-affirmed the government’s commitment to transitioning away from all open-pen fish farms in British Columbia by 2025.
This is a massive victory for wild salmon – and it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of local First Nations.
The Homalco, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwaikah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations led the push for this critical change. Without them, it is almost certain the phase out would not be happening now.
Ecojustice supporters also advocated for the health of wild salmon in the Discovery Islands. Since August, more than 17,400 of you sent letters to the Minister, asking her to fulfill the 2012 Cohen Commission recommendations for phasing out fish farms in the area.
Once open-pen farms are out of the Discovery Islands, Pacific salmon migrating through the surrounding channels will be safe from the risk of contracting illnesses or parasites from farmed fish.
This change couldn’t come soon enough. Wild salmon stocks are in steady decline, with the Fraser River salmon return expected to hit a historic low of 270,000 this year.
Ultimately, open-net fish farming needs to end – not only in British Columbia, but on the Atlantic Coast as well. Going forward, my colleagues at Ecojustice and I are committed to fighting for the health of wild salmon on both coasts.
For now, though, we would love for you to join us in celebrating this landmark win. Will, you spread the news about this victory by forwarding this email to three people on your contact list?
Thank you for joining our fight to protect wild salmon – and for standing by Ecojustice this year as we worked to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.