Re: “Another blow to wild salmon,” Letters, Chief, Jan. 23.
It is unfortunate that, through the letter to the editor “Another blow to wild salmon,” the recommendations of the Cohen Commission Inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River sockeye continue to be misrepresented.
Justice Cohen, after three years of research compelling tens-of-thousands of documents and unprecedented data, found that there was no evidence salmon farms were negatively affecting the Fraser River sockeye (Final Report, Vol. 3, p. 24). In light of the public concern, he added that further data should be collected in the years to come, and continued research by undertaken. B.C.’s salmon farmers have supported all of his aquaculture recommendations — not just in words, but in action — since their release.
As Cohen undertook his review, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans chose not to advance any applications regarding salmon farm license amendments. With the report complete, DFO is now resuming that work. They are honouring Cohen’s recommendations by holding a moratorium in place in the Discovery Islands area.
The commission’s intensive review of issues potentially affecting the iconic sockeye certainly honours the work of many volunteers — both at the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable and through many other organizations. There were over 60 recommendations made by Justice Cohen that didn’t relate to aquaculture that will also help to guide management decisions into the future.
In the meantime, we feel managed, careful growth of salmon farming is an important part of protecting our wild salmon. As worldwide demand for healthy seafood continues to grow, our responsible farming sector represents an opportunity for B.C. to lead the way as a food solution.
B.C. Salmon Farmers