Anti-fish farm activists’ adverse effects on sustainability

Look, when we speak of sustainability we are speaking about the three major guidelines people and corporations must follow so we can one day arrive at a truly sustainable global life. 

By Samantha McLeod


Environmental sustainability is the ability of the environment to support a defined level of environmental quality and natural resource extraction rates indefinitely. This is the world’s biggest problem.

Currently BC Aquaculture industry is addressing this problem in the best way possible, the carbon footprint of this industry is extremely low in comparison to every single agri-food business. Fish and shellfish are grown in their natural environment and thus do not require extraction of natural resources. In fact, these fish and shellfish live in perfect harmony with their environment, while occupying an infinitesimal amount of ocean space.

Meanwhile the anti-aquaculture activists, in their passionate pursuit of environmental sustainability, think it is a brilliant idea to move ocean farms to land, and thus use 28, 000 Canadian football fields and 4.16 billion litres of fresh water to replicate an ocean farm. This preposterous suggestion, which was quickly turned into a war cry, has done nothing but pelt their ideology into obscurity. Moving ocean farms on land would extract our natural resources, like fresh water for one, at an alarming rate. In fact, this idea of ocean farms on land would most definitely suck the last drop of water out of the parched throat of someone soon enough.

Economic sustainability is the ability of an economy to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely.

BC Aquaculture produced 92,800 Metric Tonnes of salmon (2016). This industry is very much aware of economic sustainability. They, along with the rest of the world, know that wild fish will not feed our global population, a population that is procreating at a brisk rate. Eventually we will need to farm more fish in the ocean.

As other countries run out of fish they will sail further a-sea to fish, right up close and personal with Canada’s water if necessary. Apparently, necessity has arrived – Canadian minister calls for G7 ‘naming and shaming’ on ocean overfishing.

Meanwhile the anti-aquaculture activists, in their pursuit of protecting wild fish for their own voracious appetites, never address this major conversation. Not once have they touched on the issues of a rapidly growing global population, overfishing and pirating. While many countries approach starvation, the anti-aquaculture activists shall eat and be merry.

Social sustainability is the ability of a social system to function at a defined level of social wellbeing and harmony indefinitely. Endemic poverty, widespread injustice, and low education rates are symptoms a system is socially unsustainable.

As it is well documented, the BC aquaculture industry brings jobs, education and opportunities for growth, to our coastal communities. In our much-neglected communities where endemic poverty, widespread injustice, and low education rates are real peoples’ realities, BC salmon farmers are there helping to alleviate our coastal communities’ burdens. Social sustainability means eradicating poverty and BC salmon farmers are doing just that, one family at a time.

A man cannot live on fish alone. Why then are these anti-aquaculture activists not raising awareness of these social injustices within our coastal communities? Endemic poverty, widespread injustice, and low education rates are symptoms a system is socially unsustainable. These symptoms, again, are physical realities of our coastal communities’ families.

Activism should be based on at least a modicum of logic, right?

Unfortunately, too often a paid activist will use their power of persuasion to rile up certain types of people – anarchists with inherent thoughts of conspiracy theories.

When scientists protest their argument should be based on science, right?

The anti-aquaculture group in British Columbia is headed by a bug scientist and a self-proclaimed scientist whom are avid science-deniers themselves.

When it comes to BC’s current aquaculture industry, which is built on the foundation of environmental, economic and social sustainability, logic and science have been proven in review after review.

Food for thought.

While all these conspiracy theories abound, strangely enough our “celebrity chefs” on the anti-aquaculture chuck wagon continue to feed these “contaminated” wild salmon to hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals, A bug scientist and a self-proclaimed scientist continue to consume, and voraciously promote the consumption of wild salmon…all in the pursuit of protecting “Wild salmon for future First Nations generations”.

And just in case anyone is wondering?

Schools of wild salmon have not been discovered to flop belly-up as they swam by the salmon farms on their way out to the ocean. Nor have they been found to flip over and die on their way back to their spawning rivers. To boot, fishermen, First Nations people, and wild animals have not mysteriously expired during salmon season. And we have not read anything in the news about “Ghost pirate ship with millions of rotting wild salmon aboard found off the coast of BC”.

BC aquaculture industry is in the forefront of seeking global sustainability, we need farm-raised fish and they are providing a product that is easing the pressure off of overfishing and pirating. Because this industry exists today, there will be wild salmon tomorrow.

Really the only people who can truly claim to “Protect our wild salmon” are the BC fish farmers. In 2016 alone, the fish farmers saved 92,800 metric tonnes of wild salmon.


Related Links:

Why is the anti-fish farm lobby so afraid of science?

How Canada can help save Asia’s oceans

Ottawa funds to energize B.C. seafood production


Around the web:

Growing the World’s Best Fish

Fish out of ocean water dampen aquaculture enterprise

Sustainable Development

Fisheries Minister calls on G7 to ‘name and shame’ countries behind illegal mass fishing

Fish farm faceoff: David Suzuki and Alf-Helge Aarskog debate hot B.C. issue

B.C. chefs ask gov’t to stop open-net salmon farming