To the Editor:
On behalf of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA), I would like to correct the factual errors contained in Ralph Surette’s opinion piece: Salmon Farming: An Industry that Needs to be Caged, published on May 12, 2012.
Like many of our fellow Atlantic Canadians, we are concerned about the well-being of the marine environment upon which we depend for our livelihood. We welcome scrutiny but we also ask for respect and dialogue that begins with the facts.
Here are the facts:
- Salmon farmed in the Atlantic region are not dyed pink. Carotenoids (a natural ingredient found in carrots and egg yolks) are added to the diet of salmon to provide them with vitamin A, which in turn gives them their pink color.
- Farmed Atlantic salmon are not injected with growth hormones.
- For every kilogram of feed a farmed salmon eats, it gains almost a kilogram of weight. By comparison, cows must eat eight kilograms of feed in order to gain one kilogram of weight.
- Wild salmon runs are not affected by the location of a salmon farm. Rather, international studies have shown that wild Atlantic Salmon are impacted by a variety of issues such as acid rain, unhealthy water sheds, hydro dams, habitat loss, climate change and over-fishing.
- There are no sea lice treatments on Nova Scotia salmon farms and no pesticides used.
- The lobster that died during an AlphaMax treatment in New Brunswick two years ago were purchased from an unknown location in unknown condition, placed directly
- in the tarp with the treatment and then dragged behind a boat for several hours. No wonder they died. Extensive scientific field research and monitoring have shown that approved treatments have no negative impact on the marine system, lobster and other species when used according to treatment protocols.
- Salmon farms conduct regular government-audited sediment testing of the ocean floor to ensure our farms meet rigorous environmental standards. The results are publicly available for review.
- When the federal government orders the eradication of farm animals in any agricultural operation, whether it is a salmon farm, poultry operation or a cattle farm, the government pays compensation to the farmer.
We welcome the opportunity to arrange tours of our salmon farms for Mr. Surette or others who are interested in learning about our industry.
Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association
ACFFA is an industry-funded association that works on behalf of the salmon farming industry in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. ACFFA represents 95 per cent of salmon production in the Maritime region in addition to a wide range of supporting companies and organizations.