Anti-open net fish farming resolution by Victoria is not a “pressing issue for us” says councillor who drafted the motion. Open net salmon farming in British Columbia is not a “pressing issue” for the City of Victoria. But the Garden City’s local politicians have no qualms pushing for its ban and harming the livelihoods of 6,600 British Columbians, many of whom are their northern neighbours on Vancouver Island.
“It’s not a pressing issue for us,” said Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt (pictured), who drafted a resolution that this week is being tabled at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention in Whistler. So why do it and harm the economy of other municipalities on Vancouver Island? “Well…it’s just an advocacy resolution to get the provincial government to act,” Isitt told SeaWestNews.
Isitt said he was upset that Canadians had not imitated American actions to limit responsible aquaculture after failed regulations in Washington State led to a mass fish escape at a salmon farm. “We were prompted by the decision in Washington State to phase out the industry and the work of Alexandra Morton and concerns raised by some our residents,” said Isitt.
In contrast to Washington, modern regulations and practices in BC have seen no more than single digit escapes of non-invasive Atlantic salmon in recent years. Isitt seemed unaware of extensive scientific research and legislation that ensures responsible aquaculture practices, when contacted by SeaWestNews.
“I drafted the resolution based on available research and a precautionary principal…the resolution is balanced,” he claimed. Isitt said homelessness is the main issue in Victoria. However, the loss of thousands of jobs and possible dislocation that could result from Isitt’s resolutions have not been acknowledged by Isitt.
An alternative resolution by Campbell River also being considered has the support of tens of thousands of businesses across B.C. who support a Federal Aquaculture Act to clarify industry responsibilities and provide fair access to long term fish farm tenures.