Goat Cove

Good and Bad News from DFO on salmon farming


Photo by Tavish CampbellHERE’S THE GOOD NEWS FIRST. Recently we heard about a proposed expansion to the Goat Cove salmon farm in the Central Coast. The farm was up for an increase in production from 2815 tonnes to 4000!

We were very concerned about this because we know this farm had sea lice problems in 2015, right before the juvenile outmigration period. Enough science has been published on the devastating effects sea lice from salmon farms can have on juvenile wild salmon. So we wrote to DFO raising our concerns (read the letter here).

Somewhat surprisingly, we heard back from DFO and they wrote:

the application for the production increase at Marine Harvest’s Goat Cove facility has not been approved due to ongoing sea lice management challenges in the Klemtu area.”

Great to hear DFO making the right decision and we hope to see more of that. Though it is troubling to hear sea lice management issues are still a serious problem at salmon farms on this coast. We also know sea lice may be developing resistance to traditionally used drugs in BC. And of course, through the Cohen Commission, we know disease risks are also a paramount risk to wild fish.

NOW THE BAD NEWS. Despite DFO’s recent acknowledgement of salmon farm sea lice problems, they recently informed us that salmon farm licenses would be expanded from 1-year terms to 6-years! This is not a precautionary approach to salmon farm management, especially in light of the sea lice risks and disease concerns raised by the $37 million Cohen Commission. 6-year terms will give the industry more solid footing to stay entrenched in BC, adding more risk to our wild salmon.