North coast residents are overwhelmingly opposed to fish farms, says MLA Gary Coons, who is part of a provincial committee looking into the issue.
Mr. Coons was in Prince Rupert, Kitkatla, Kitwanga and Hazelton earlier this week with other committee members to hear what the public had to say about the possibility of fish farms coming to the north coast.
“We heard loud and clear that the north coast wants to be fish farm free,” he said.
In Prince Rupert, the hall booked for the hearings was overflowing and some had to wait outside. There were more than 150 people there, Mr. Coons said. Hereditary chiefs from the Tsimshian Nation and throughout the Skeena watershed spoke for the first two hours, voicing their opposition to the farms and their potential impact on wild salmon.
The provincial government has already approved one fish farm for the north coast and more decisions are expected. Mr. Coons said the committee has asked the minister to table all approvals until the hearings are finished next year.
The committee will be coming to Haida Gwaii in the fall to hear what islanders have to say on the issue. Mr. Coons said although no fish farms are currently proposed for the islands, we should still be concerned because farms on the north coast could affect wild salmon in the waters here.
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