A total of nine organizations signed a letter addressed to the Prime Minister
By Diego Flammini
Five ag industry groups representing the grain, meat and crop protection industries signed a letter with other organizations to show support for B.C.’s salmon farming industry.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canada Grains Council, Canadian Meat Council, Canola Council of Canada and CropLife Canada are among the nine groups to sign a May 4 letter addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau expressing concern for his government’s decision to close 15 open-net Atlantic salmon farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Gudie Hutchings, minister of rural economic development, and John Barlow, the Conservative agriculture critic, are among those copied on the letter.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced in February that the federal government is taking action to protect Pacific salmon in the area because “recent science indicates that there is uncertainty with respect to the risks posed by Atlantic salmon aquaculture farms to wild Pacific salmon in the Discovery Islands area, as well as to the cumulative effect of any farm-related impacts on this iconic species.”
Closing aquaculture operations means the federal government could harm the greater agriculture industry.
“All ingredients in the fish feed are natural, including oilseed meals, grain products, animal proteins, fish and plant oils,” a Farm & Food Care Ontario fact sheet says.
Canola meal is a common ingredient in aquaculture diets because it has an amino acid closer to fishmeal than any other common vegetable, according to the Canola Council of Canada.
These aquaculture operations are an important part of the Canadian food production chain, the May 4 letter says.
“Canadian salmon feed companies purchase close to $150 million annually from Canadian grain and protein suppliers, supporting a circular economy with the potential for significant value-add growth,” the letter reads. “To date, recent government actions have shut down 40% of BC salmon farming production.”
The other signatories on the letter are the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, the Canadian Aquaculture Suppliers Association and the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship.
Farms.com has reached out CropLife Canada and the Canada Grains Council for comment.