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BC WILDERNESS TOURISM ASSOCIATION URGES IMMEDIATE CLOSURE OF ALL FISH FARMS ON KEY ROUTES

NO MORE SALMON FARMS IN BC UNTIL IMPACTS CLEAR

Campbell River, August 3, 2005  The BC Wilderness Tourism Association (WTA) representing nature-based tourism operators and their sector associations announced today that it is urging the BC and federal governments to immediately close salmon farms on migratory routes in the Broughton Archipelago and along the North Coast. The 100-member organization also supports a moratorium on the expansion of open net caged finfish aquaculture until peer reviewed science shows minimal or no impact on wild fish stocks. In the short term, the organization is calling for the fallowing of fish farms located on key migration routes in time for the spring 2006 migration.

"Many of our businesses and operations completely depend on healthy wild salmon stocks," said Brian Gunn of Strathcona Park Lodge and president of the WTA. "We can’t afford to sit around and wait for more science when the wild salmon in this province are known to be threatened."

The WTA decided to take action based on the precautionary principle, which favours protecting wild salmon rather than the continued operation of salmon farms. The WTA has met with industry, environmentalists, scientists and the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

"If the wild salmon runs are low when they return in a few weeks, it could spell disaster for all tourism-based business not only in the Broughton but coast wide," said Craig Murray, owner of Nimmo Bay Heli-Venture Resort, which caters to fly fishing enthusiasts and adventure seekers in the Broughton Archipelago. "BC’s tourism industry needs government and the salmon farm industry to act now to make sure salmon farms are fallowed, or moved from migratory routes to protect the wild salmon."

Tourism is British Columbia's largest land-based employer with 117,500 full-time direct jobs and gross annual direct revenues of $9.5 billion. Within BC tourism, wilderness tourism is the fastest growing sector. Wilderness tourism generated $900 million in direct revenues in 2001. Adding in spin offs and indirect revenue generated from travel to and from nature-based operations, total revenue in 2001 was $2 billion (21,000 full-time jobs). WTA members include the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association, the Commercial Bear Viewing Association and the BC Fishing Resorts and Outfitters Association.


For more information, please contact:
* Brian Gunn, president of the BC Wilderness Tourism Association, (250) 203-3045 (cell)
* Craig Murray, owner and manager of Nimmo Bay Resort in Port McNeil, (250) 956-4000
* Michael Uehara, president of King Pacific Lodge on the North Coast, (604) 987-5452, or (604) 551-0145 (cell)

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