NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach calls on opponents to sign petition in favour of transitioning towards closed-containment fish farms. (Black Press file photo)

NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach calls on opponents to sign petition against open-net fish farming

Conservative candidate Claire Rattée declined to sign

Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP federal election candidate Taylor Bachrach is calling on his opponents to support a pledge to protect wild salmon by ending open-net fish farms along the BC coast.

The pledge, organized by the Wild Salmon Forever Society, reflects growing concern around the impact of open-net fish farms on the health of wild Pacific salmon through the spread of disease and parasites.

“The risks of open-net salmon farms far outweigh the benefits. We need to see them out of the ocean where they’re no longer a threat to wild salmon,” Bachrach says.

“Wild salmon are such an iconic species for this part of the world, and they’re an important contributor to our economy and our way of life. We need to be doing more to ensure their long-term survival.”

The pledge asks the candidate if they are aware of the risks posed to salmon by open net pen salmon farming, and if they support doing away open net pens in return for incentives to convert to closed pens by 2025. Recently, the Liberal Party also promised to transition to closed containment pens by 2025.

READ MORE: Liberal Party salmon farm pledge ‘destructive,’ industry group says

Open fish farms are large cages or nets placed in coastal waters containing hundreds of thousands of fish.

While effective, waste accumulates on the ocean floor and wild stocks can be affected by chemicals and disease.

In 2017, an open fish farm collapsed in Washington state, causing more than 250,000 Atlantic salmon to escape, spreading parasites and diseases into the open ocean. The event prompted Washington lawmakers to ban open Atlantic salmon farming, a move also taken up by California, Oregon and Alaska.

British Columbia is the only region on the Pacific coast that still allows open-net fish farms, though the B.C. government has imposed a moratorium on new fish farms for several years.

The pledge was sent to three other party-backed candidates including Claire Rattée, Green Party Michael Sawyer, and Liberal Dave Birdi. There’s been no response from Sawyer or Birdi, and Rattée was the only one to decline signing the pledge.

Bachrach says while the region is fortunate to have a moratorium banning fish farm applications or any licenses for salmon farming along the North Coast, it doesn’t provide 100 per cent assurance there won’t be efforts to bring salmon farms back in the future.

“This is a discussion that we’ve had in the past when plans were put forward for open-net farms in the Skeena. At the time I think most folks who care about seeing wild salmon in the Skeena agreed that it was a bad idea. That’s why I was surprised to see that the Conservative candidate has responded by declining the pledge,” Bachrach says.

“There are plenty of issues on which we as candidates are going to disagree, but I would hope given the importance of wild salmon to Northwest B.C., this could be the one issue where we can stand together.”

READ MORE: The most important issue for each of the Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates in their own words

Birdi says he plans to respond to the pledge, and Sawyer says he has told the society he’ll be adding his signature.

The Wild Salmon Forever Society says they will be sending out the pledge to the other riding candidates, including Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor, People’s Party candidate Jody Craven, and Independent candidates Danny Nunes and Merv Ritchie.

The Terrace Standard has reached out to Rattée for comment.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Slow down for students: School zone speeds now in effect

RCMP will be making sure drivers keep it at 30 km/h or less, with heavy fines for breaking the law

Queen Charlotte fire hall is a go

Start of construction marked with groundbreaking ceremony

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

IV cancer treatment returning to Haida Gwaii

Arrival of a new pharmacy technician means the service can resume

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

VIDEO: B.C. man’s yard comes alive with grizzlies at night

Malakwa man has captured images of 12 different grizzlies on video

First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness found in B.C.

Health officials warn this could be the first of many

Fire response at Trans Mountain Burnaby tank farm could take six hours: audit

Site doesn’t have mutual aid response agreement with Burnaby fire department

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Most Read