EU Fish News, 1 Nov 2013: Farmers Pledge Continued Support for Cohen Report

Farmers Pledge Continued Support for Cohen Report

EU Fish News, 1 Nov 2013

ONE year after the final report on the Fraser River Sockeye decline was released, the BC Salmon Farmers Association claims to remain committed to Commissioner Bruce Cohen’s recommendations and goals.

“Our farmers have been supportive of these recommendations from the day they were released – and not just in words but in action,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “We’re taking on this work to give British Columbians greater confidence that we’re raising healthy fish with great care.”

One of the examples of proactive work BCSFA members have undertaken is to host a series of workshops to help define possible risks to wild salmon and identify knowledge gaps and research priorities. The second of these will be held in November.

Farmers are also collating all of their water data for use by researchers investigating the impacts of rising ocean temperatures – the issue Commissioner Cohen deemed “the elephant in the room” during the release of his report. The BCSFA has also signed onto a significant long-range study looking specifically at fish health in both wild and farm-raised fish.

“The diligence of our farmers means we have significant amounts of information that could be useful to researchers who are looking at aquaculture directly and who are looking at the broader ocean environment,” said Walling.

Last October, Justice Bruce Cohen released his 1200-page, 75-recommendation final report after three years of research, hearings and investigation into possible causes of the decline of Fraser River sockeye. While he found no single cause, the commissioner made a long list of recommendations – ranging from wild fisheries management, to improvements in hatchery operations. Eleven recommendations related to salmon aquaculture.

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