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Community organizations, salmon preservation groups and habitat protection groups who are members of the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform have filed a protest with the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue Steering Committee regarding the inadequacies in the recent “draft standards for salmon aquaculture.”

The major deficiency of these standards, says ACAR, is that they allow environmentally damaging activities associated with open net pen aquaculture to continue, including; release of eco-toxic pesticides to the marine environment (bath and in feed); release of farm wastes into the marine environment; escapes of farmed fish; use of wild fish for feed; and presence of sea lice and disease on salmon farms.

The letter states that the proposed standards do not meet the conditions for sustainable aquaculture, which include

1. It does not degrade the ecosystem in which it is located, or ecosystems on which it is dependent;

2. It is in harmony with economic, social and cultural activities that use the same natural resources;

3. Access to information and participation in decision-making is fair and equitable;

4. All costs are reflected in the cost of production, ensuring that costs are not externalized to the environment, other sectors, or individuals;

5. It does not diminish the ability of future generations to use the same natural resources.

The letter points out that recent crashes in salmon production in Chile and the significant drop in production over the last several years in New Brunswick (Canada) are evidence that the carrying capacity of a given region can only be ignored at great peril. ACAR says that the Second draft standards for responsible salmon aquaculture fails to substantially meet the sustainability test.

ACAR says that the standards cannot ensure salmon farms respect ecological limits and the group cannot support them. Signers to the letter include:

– Conservation Council of New Brunswick

– Fundy Baykeeper

– Ecology Action Centre

– Atlantic Salmon Federation

– St. Mary’s Bay Coastal Alliance

– Nova Scotia Salmon Association

– Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Digby Neck & Islands

– Friends of Shelburne Harbour

– Fundy North Fishermen’s Association

– Friar’s Bay Development Association