Massive salmon farms with up to a million fish each are an existential threat to wild salmon and other marine life
From more than 100, now about 65 floating, open-net salmon farms in B.C. coastal waters raise invasive Atlantic salmon. Operated by Norwegian multinational corporations, these fish factories infect wild salmon and seriously threaten their health and existence by widely spreading lice, viruses and other pathogens and pollutants into the waters they travel.
In Atlantic Canada, there are similar concerns about the impact of fish farms on wild salmon, lobster, crab and other marine life.
Since the farms were introduced in the mid-1980s, the returns of adult wild salmon to B.C. rivers have declined so drastically that some runs are almost extinct. The same farm-related declines have been found elsewhere in the world.
Especially hard-hit are the one-third of all B.C. wild salmon populations that migrate to and from the North Pacific Ocean through the narrow waterways of the Discovery Islands and Broughton Archipelago. A lot of farms have been located here. Largely as a result of First Nations leadership, many are now removed! See Living Oceans’ excellent 2023 interactive map here showing the closed and remaining farms. In comparison, the Harrison River sockeye salmon are flourishing. They travel between the Fraser River and the Pacific Ocean via the farm-free Juan de Fuca Strait south of Vancouver Island.
Fish farms must be moved out of our coastal waters to help save our wild Pacific salmon
A variety of factors affect the health of wild salmon populations including sediment from industrial forestry, habitat loss, pollution, climate change and natural disasters.
Meanwhile, removing Atlantic salmon farms is the most direct action we can take now to help save them!
Take action to help save our wild salmon and the communities that depend on them. Write to the Minister of Fisheries, Diane Lebouthillier, to demand a comprehensive plan for fulfilling their promise to remove all B.C. fish farms by 2025.
We are also very concerned that fishers in Southeast Alaska intercept and kill millions of Canadian salmon in non-selective net fisheries as they swim past Alaska on their way home. Meanwhile, Canadian fisheries are closed to rebuild dwindling stocks. Please write a letter to register you concern
Find more pages of information about wild salmon and various aspects of the fish farm issue at Find Out More.
(Hover over the map to enlarge. On mobile, you can press and drag to do this.)
The Wild Salmon Action Team
The Wild Salmon Action Team (WSAT) of the Vancouver Unitarians was established in 2018 to help save wild Pacific salmon from existential threats, especially the risks posed by floating, open-net Atlantic salmon farms. WSAT collaborates with First Nations and like-minded organizations on strategic actions to enhance the prospects for wild salmon.