NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach calls on opponents to sign petition in favour of transitioning towards closed-containment fish farms. (Black Press file photo)

NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach calls on opponents to sign petition in favour of transitioning towards closed-containment fish farms. (Black Press file photo)

NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach calls on opponents to sign petition against open-net fish farming

Conservative candidate Claire Rattée declined to sign

Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP federal election candidate Taylor Bachrach is calling on his opponents to support a pledge to protect wild salmon by ending open-net fish farms along the BC coast.

The pledge, organized by the Wild Salmon Forever Society, reflects growing concern around the impact of open-net fish farms on the health of wild Pacific salmon through the spread of disease and parasites.

“The risks of open-net salmon farms far outweigh the benefits. We need to see them out of the ocean where they’re no longer a threat to wild salmon,” Bachrach says.

“Wild salmon are such an iconic species for this part of the world, and they’re an important contributor to our economy and our way of life. We need to be doing more to ensure their long-term survival.”

The pledge asks the candidate if they are aware of the risks posed to salmon by open net pen salmon farming, and if they support doing away open net pens in return for incentives to convert to closed pens by 2025. Recently, the Liberal Party also promised to transition to closed containment pens by 2025.

READ MORE: Liberal Party salmon farm pledge ‘destructive,’ industry group says

Open fish farms are large cages or nets placed in coastal waters containing hundreds of thousands of fish.

While effective, waste accumulates on the ocean floor and wild stocks can be affected by chemicals and disease.

In 2017, an open fish farm collapsed in Washington state, causing more than 250,000 Atlantic salmon to escape, spreading parasites and diseases into the open ocean. The event prompted Washington lawmakers to ban open Atlantic salmon farming, a move also taken up by California, Oregon and Alaska.

British Columbia is the only region on the Pacific coast that still allows open-net fish farms, though the B.C. government has imposed a moratorium on new fish farms for several years.

The pledge was sent to three other party-backed candidates including Claire Rattée, Green Party Michael Sawyer, and Liberal Dave Birdi. There’s been no response from Sawyer or Birdi, and Rattée was the only one to decline signing the pledge.

Bachrach says while the region is fortunate to have a moratorium banning fish farm applications or any licenses for salmon farming along the North Coast, it doesn’t provide 100 per cent assurance there won’t be efforts to bring salmon farms back in the future.

“This is a discussion that we’ve had in the past when plans were put forward for open-net farms in the Skeena. At the time I think most folks who care about seeing wild salmon in the Skeena agreed that it was a bad idea. That’s why I was surprised to see that the Conservative candidate has responded by declining the pledge,” Bachrach says.

“There are plenty of issues on which we as candidates are going to disagree, but I would hope given the importance of wild salmon to Northwest B.C., this could be the one issue where we can stand together.”

READ MORE: The most important issue for each of the Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates in their own words

Birdi says he plans to respond to the pledge, and Sawyer says he has told the society he’ll be adding his signature.

The Wild Salmon Forever Society says they will be sending out the pledge to the other riding candidates, including Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor, People’s Party candidate Jody Craven, and Independent candidates Danny Nunes and Merv Ritchie.

The Terrace Standard has reached out to Rattée for comment.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Smithers Weekly Police Blotter: Feb 12 – 19

Smithers RCMP open 83 new files including 15 property crime cases

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Junction of Highways 16 and 37 Sunday morning. (Drive BC traffic cam image)
Drive BC reports hazardous road conditions throughout northwest

Advisories include road closure of Hwy 37 for high avalanche risk near Bob Quinn

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read