Farms a Bust, says New Report
The BC Liberal regime may be sold on the
idea, but a new economic study claims the expansion of industrial
salmon farming increases environmental and health risks and creates
only a few jobs in the process.
The Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives released the study in Vancouver last week.
”Industrial salmon aquaculture will deliver no or few new jobs in BC,
even if the industry doubles in size,” says Dale Marshall, resource
policy analyst and author of the study. “What’s more, the industry
produces relatively few jobs and minimal economic benefits to the
provincial economy right now.”
The study, called Fishy Business: The Economics of Salmon Farming
in BC, shows that wild marine fisheries create seven times more
jobs and wages compared to industrial salmon aquaculture in BC. In
addition, wild fisheries are worth more than four times as much in
terms of provincial GDP, and more than three times as much in terms of
“Fish farm expansion is being dangled before coastal communities as a
panacea for jobs and economic stability. But this is a false promise,”
says Marshall. “The fact is, running a
fish farm takes very few people. And the record in BC, and major fish
farm jurisdictions like Norway and Scotland, is that over time, fish
farm operations require fewer and fewer workers.”
The study also warns that the economic risks posed by industrial salmon
aquaculture to BC’s lucrative coastal wild fisheries could be
“We’re basically playing Russian Roulette with our coastal-dependent
economies – without knowing how many bullets are in the chamber,” he
said. “The scientific community has already shown that there are risks
to other marine industries, such as wild salmon fisheries, tourism and
sport fishing,” he adds.
Salmon farm expansion is becoming a big controversy for coastal
communities, and many community leaders are reportedly cooling to the
idea after seeing some of the results.
“The fact is, wild fisheries are not only our most important economic
drivers, they’re critical to us culturally. That’s why our tribe has
adopted a strict no fish farm policy. It’s just not worth the risk,”
says Chief Charlie Williams. Williams is the Hereditary Chief of
Gwawaenuk and President of the Kwakiutl Territorial Fisheries
Commission in Alert Bay.