33 Conservation Groups Call on Salmon Farms to Protect Wild Salmon

St. Andrews, NB- Thirty-three conservation groups from six countries are calling on salmon farms to protect wild salmon populations. This call arises after

  • By: Ted Williams
St. Andrews, NB- Thirty-three conservation groups from six countries are calling on salmon farms to protect wild salmon populations. This call arises after John Fredriksen, a major shareholder in Marine Harvest, made public comments that open net cage salmon farms should be removed from near wild salmon rivers.

Comments from Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Orri Vigfusson, Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, follow, as do the letter being sent to Marine Harvest, requesting their commitment to protect wild salmon, signed by the 33 organizations and links to articles quoting Mr.Fredriksen.

Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, an international, non-profit organization that promotes the conservation and wise management of wild Atlantic salmon and their environment, which has offices in both Canada and the United States, said:

"Wild Atlantic salmon returns to 32 rivers flowing into the inner Bay of Fundy, located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, declined from annual runs of 40,000 in the 1980s to fewer than 100 today. Canada has listed them under the Species at Risk Act. The salmon populations in Maine's Downeast rivers have been listed by the United States government as endangered. The declines coincide with the development of the aquaculture industry in both areas, and this is likely no coincidence. There is a comprehensive body of research proving negative impacts of salmon farming on wild salmon, including parasites, disease, and weakening of the wild gene pool when farmed salmon escape and interbreed with wild salmon."

"In a resolution passed in 1994, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) agreed with Mr. Fredriksen, ASF, and many other NGOs that salmon farms should be located 30 km away from wild Atlantic salmon rivers. Despite this agreement, member countries of this international conservation body, such as Canada, the United States, Norway and Scotland, allowed salmon farms to develop near wild salmon rivers and we can all see how this decision has wreaked havoc on wild populations. And governments continue to expand the industry in areas where wild salmon live, such as in Newfoundland, where the industry is being supported by government funds".

In Iceland, Orri Vigfusson, Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund and winner of the 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize for his work protecting wild Atlantic salmon, said:

"The North Atlantic Salmon Fund is very pleased that Mr Fredriksen has called on salmon farmers to move their farms out of wild salmon areas. The next logical step is for Marine Harvest and other companies to begin the process of removing salmon cages from the path of migratory wild salmon. Atlantic wild salmon need all the protection we can give them and it is vital that Mr Fredriksen and other stakeholders are on board".

-Atlantic Salmon Federation