Our Salmon Are Endangered (corrected copy)

News Release. July 5, 2012
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver) There are alarming media reports that an estimated 20 to 50 per cent of farmed salmon in BC fish farms are infested with the Kudoa thyrsites parasite which cause soft flesh syndrome.

“It is completely unacceptable that farmed salmon infected with any disease is available to your neighbourhood market,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “It is totally unacceptable to dismiss the potential risk of the impact Kudoa could have on the declining wild salmon stocks in BC as we are concerned that because farm salmon stay in one place, never migrating, that they may be increasing the amount of kudoa in our waters and affecting wild salmon, just like sea lice. While the BC fish farm industry spends millions of dollars culling their infested salmon, the Harper Government is gutting the Department of Fisheries and Ocean, the agency responsible with the protection of wild salmon.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated “When the BC fish farm industry is confronted with irrefutable evidence on the blooms of sea lice emanating from their sites, the outbreaks of IHN virus and Kudoa, industry and government the disgusting, denial-based responses are always the same; 'our monitoring protocols say there is no wide-spread impact on wild salmon and ecosystems.' Who is legally liable? In the event of serious illness or death from eating contaminated, disease-ridden farmed salmon products; who is culpable?”

Chief Chamberlin concluded “The general public needs to put down their fish farmed sashimi and question both industry and government about what chemical treatments and antibiotics were used to treat that piece of fish farmed salmon to ward off parasites and keep viruses at bay. There should be annual reporting by an independent third-party First Nations body monitoring the treatments and antibiotics used by industry. It certainly does not inspire confidence when it seems only after an issue like salmon infested with Kudoa being sold at your local Costco is made public does the fish farm industry begrudgingly admit there is a problem. What else is the BC fish farm industry not telling us about how their operations endanger our wild salmon and ultimately to our way of life as Indigenous Peoples?”

Chief Bob Chamberlin, (604) 684-0231
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.