Salmon Farmers’ unprecedented data release shows good health on BC farms
Reams of data released to the Cohen Inquiry on the Fraser River Sockeye show good health and honest reporting on salmon farms in the province.
On Friday, the BC Salmon Farmers Association released fish health data on 120 farms over a 10-year period, as per Justice Bruce Cohen’s ruling made in December as part of his Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.
“Bringing together this extensive amount of information has been a challenge – but it tells a good story about the good health of our fish and the strong management practices on our farms,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “We hope it will help Justice Cohen with the complex inquiry process that is underway.”
The information was ordered by the commission in early December 2010. Since then, the BC Salmon Farmers Association has been pulling together the data out of its Fish Health Database, which was established in mid-2002. Companies have been collecting available information from 2000 to that time.
The data supports what has been reported publicly through the provincial government since the fish health database was established: that fish health standards on farms are very high, mortality rates are very low and there are no findings of exotic disease.
“The precedent of this information release is certainly notable – the data within it clearly shows that the fish health plans are succeeding at protecting farmed fish, and by extension wild species, from significant health challenges,” said Walling.
The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.