URGENT REQUEST FROM U.S. COALITION TO B.C. PREMIER HORGAN:
Deny Atlantic salmon Net Pen Lease Renewals In British Columbia
Dear Premier John Horgan,
We, a coalition of organizations and businesses united as U.S. coastal partners under the banner of Our Sound, Our Salmon, write today to respectfully and urgently request you to deny the renewal of twenty Atlantic salmon net pen leases in the Broughton Archipelago that are due to expire on June 20th, 2018.
We write this letter in the interest of solidarity, asking you to help British Columbia join Washington, California, Oregon, and Alaska in excluding Atlantic salmon net pens from your coastal waters because of the threat they pose to Pacific salmon and, consequently, to killer whales. As you well know, Pacific salmon and killer whales are icons of the Pacific coast, species fundamental to the economy, culture, ecology, and heritage of the Pacific Northwest.
Atlantic salmon net pens represent an undeniable threat to Pacific salmon and other native marine species. Atlantic salmon net pens severely pollute the marine environment, have a history of infrastructure failures that result in chronic escapes both large and small, and significantly amplify contagious and harmful parasites and pathogens in the marine environment.
In order for Pacific salmon and the killer whales which rely on their abundance to have a fighting chance at survival, the entire Pacific coast of North America must be free of Atlantic salmon net pens. Pacific salmon and killer whales know no borders, and neither should our efforts to ensure their protection and recovery.
On March 22nd, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee brought the coast one step closer to this goal by signing a bill into law that will entirely phase out Atlantic salmon net pens from Washington state waters by 2022. With the signing of HB 2957, Governor Inslee ushered in a historically unprecedented phase out of Atlantic salmon net pens, a victory for wild salmon and for those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Pacific coast.
Even more recently, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife denied the transfer of 800,000 Atlantic salmon smolts into currently operating Puget Sound pens after discovering the smolts were infected with an Icelandic strain of Piscine Reovirus (PRV), a highly contagious virus that is now known to cause debilitating and potentially lethal effects to Chinook salmon.
There has never been a better time for BC to make the same wise decisions. Your province represents the final missing link on the Pacific coast, the only jurisdiction that has yet to exclude this harmful industry from its waters.
Premier Horgan – of all of your province’s farmed Atlantic salmon, 80% are infected with PRV. The Atlantic salmon net pen industry in BC continues to operate with the full knowledge of the extent to which PRV infects their pens, acting in opposition to Canadian law, a Federal Court ruling, and First Nation demands.
Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska each weighed the risks associated with the Atlantic salmon net pen industry and concluded that enabling the industry was not in their best interest. Until BC takes the same steps, coast wide efforts to protect ESA-listed Chinook, steelhead, and killer whales will be compromised.
We sincerely urge you to join us in protecting our shared sea, salmon, and future by denying the renewal of upcoming Atlantic salmon net pen leases.
Legal Rights for the Salish Sea
Vashon Forest Stewards
Whidbey Life Media
Hot Stove Society
R Winder Construction Co.