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A MAJOR new  salmon farm is being proposed for  Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve in British Columbia.

But the  Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR)  is calling on the provincial government  to veto  the plan and place a moratorium on net cage  tenures in BC.

The CAAR say  Mainstream Canada has submitted a tenure application to the provincial government for a new open net-cage salmon farm located in Fortune Channel on the east side of Meares Island.

The Alliance add that if approved, and then licensed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the site would add about another 600,000 farmed salmon to a “core aquatic protected area” of the Clayoquot Sound  UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Alliance added today: “The Biosphere is meant to encourage sustainable ways to work with the natural environment. By design, net-cage salmon farms do not meet any responsible definition of sustainability nor do they meet the expectations of British Columbians who are consistently calling for the industry to modernise and transition to closed containment technology.”

“In a world seeking solutions, why does Mainstream Canada want to build another problem?” asks Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society and CAAR. “If the Norwegian companies are unwilling to adapt we need our government to step in on behalf of British Columbians to stop the expansion of unsustainable salmon net-cages and push the industry to move into 21st century closed containment.”

The Alliance add that although the habitat of some watersheds in the Biosphere Reserve remains pristine and untouched by human activity, wild salmon populations are in decline. Sampling of wild juvenile salmon in the reserve correlates increases in sea lice levels to the number of salmon farms the out-migrating wild salmon must pass, just like in every other region in BC where sea lice sampling on wild juvenile salmon has taken place. Clayoquot Sound is also an important feeding ground for resident as well as migrating gray whales.

“British Columbians are well-versed in the negative impacts of net-cage salmon farms. Expansion of this technology is illogical and harmful,” says Will Soltau of Living Oceans Society and CAAR. “We hope everyone, including the businesses that depend on healthy marine ecosystems in the Biosphere Reserve, or other areas will contact their MLA and oppose the granting of this or any tenure for new or expanded open net-cage salmon farms.”

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