Salmon farming discussion appropriate

Re: Salmon farm ad claims need scrutiny, Alexandra Morton, July 7, 2011.

Dear editor:

Re: Salmon farm ad claims need scrutiny, Alexandra Morton, July 7, 2011.

We’re happy to see that our recent informational pamphlet about the salmon farming industry in B.C. has sparked some discussion. Indeed, that’s exactly what we hope it will do — encourage conversation based on factual information about our business.

The letter published July 7 about the community mailout raises some points we wanted to clarify though, and puts forward some misleading insinuations.

The health of the fish on our farms is obviously very important to us.

They are monitored constantly, sampled and tested by not only the farm companies, but also by our regulators.

Results are required to be reported and those results are audited. It’s an extensive process that all involved take very seriously.

All of that testing has never indicated an imported disease.

This is obviously a very important part of our farming practice; we need our fish and the environment we operate in to be healthy in order for this business to continue.

Ms. Morton is correct there are 1,250 employees working directly for the farm companies in B.C., but we’re clear in the brochure the 6,000 number represents both direct and indirect employment including important opportunities such as value added products, shipping, packaging and equipment manufacturing.

It is this ripple of economic activity created by salmon farmers that is an important part of our role in coastal communities.

Our farmers have worked hard to implement science-based operational programs that allow us to produce a healthy product in demand around the world, that can operate in tandem with — not in opposition to — a healthy coastal environment.

While we continue that work, we know it’s also important to let people know how we’re operating. Part of that effort includes informational brochures, but it also includes farm tours, food show booths, participation in community events, websites with areas for discussion and more.

We’re putting the information out there so you can ask the questions -— and please do. Thousands of your neighbours in the mid-north Island want people to hear the real story.

Mary Ellen Walling‚

Executive Director, BCSFA‚Campbell River