Council's Input Needed - Sablefish in Danger
Press release, Thursday, July 22, 2003
By John Cummins, M.P.
OTTAWA- The Hon. John Fraser, chairman of the
Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, has been
advised of a pending disaster for sablefish stocks and fishermen
who harvest them if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
allows the development of sablefish fishfarms.
John Cummins, M.P. (Delta-South Richmond) has
sent the following letter to Mr. Fraser:
A sablefish hatchery is now under development
on Salt Spring Island. The wild sablefish industry is justifiably
concerned that their industry and fishery will be destroyed
by the development of sablefish aquaculture. Flooding the
market with farmed fish will undermine the profitability of
the highly successful sablefish industry.
There is a concern that farms will be placed
in coastal inlets disrupting and destroying vital nursery
areas for wild stocks. I therefore strongly believe it is
important that the Council is aware that another fishery is
under threat by the government's aquaculture promotion policies.
Your reports on the problems posed by sea lice
parasites emanating from salmon farms in the Broughton reveal
the serious environmental risks posed by the failure of the
Department of Fisheries to utilize its powers and responsibilities
under the Fisheries Act.
In its promotion of sablefish aquaculture the
government has failed to consider either the immediate economic
impact on the industry or the longer term environmental impact
on wild stocks. The present sablefish industry is a model
of how a sustainable fishery can be developed. It is foolhardy
in the extreme to now destroy it and to then replace it with
environmentally and economically unsustainable sablefish aquaculture.
Under your chairmanship the Pacific Fisheries
Resource Conservation Council is the voice of reason in the
face of the failure by the federal government to effectively
regulate the aquaculture industry to ensure that industry
can coexist with sustainable recreational and commercial salmon
fisheries, by providing a stable and transparent regulatory
environment to govern the interaction of aquaculture with
wild fish and the environment.
The future of wild sablefish stocks may depend
on the Council's intervention to protect juvenile rearing
Contact: John Cummins, M.P.
(604) 940-8040 or cell (604) 970-0937