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Ottawa Anti-Salmon Farming Billboards Removed for False Advertising

Press Release

OTTAWA, ON (Dec. 6, 2023): Anti-salmon farming billboards around Ottawa have been removed for false advertising. The false statements included claims from eco-activist group Wild First that “Open-net pen salmon farms are banned in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska.” Based on this inaccurate information, the ads called on Ottawa to “remove all salmon farms from B.C. waters.”

The letter of complaint filed by the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) has provided clear evidence that the farming of finfish (including salmon) is not banned in California, Oregon, or Washington. In Alaska, net pens are commonly used to raise salmon for commercial purposes.

“In an age of misinformation, we are pleased that the right thing happened – false ads that did not stand up to the truth test were removed,” says Tim Kennedy, CAIA President and CEO. “Activists with deep pockets who don’t live or work where our salmon farmers live and work are trying to drive policy decisions in Ottawa that would cancel people’s livelihoods using a storyline based on old data and false information.”

“These anti-salmon billboards included statements by the activist group Wild First that were both false and potentially economically harmful to British Columbia businesses and organizations and their employees that the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance represents. Modern, sustainable, in-ocean salmon aquaculture is the second biggest agri-food export in British Columbia and key to the blue economy future for people living in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities.”

The billboard agency was given clear evidence showing state regulations in California allow persons to lease water bottoms or the water column for the purposes of aquaculture including marine finfish farming. In Washington state, where aquaculture has been encouraged since the passage of the Aquaculture Act in 1985, the farming of native fish species in the marine environment (net pens) is allowed and despite political rhetoric by anti-net pen groups in Washington, there is no net pen ban or moratorium. No regulations in any of the four states ban the use of netting (net pens) for the purpose of containing fish.

“In Alaska, the use of net pens is common practice in their salmon aquaculture programs,” added Kennedy. Detailed in the Alaska Department Fish and Game’s Salmon Fisheries Enhancement Report, the state’s aquaculture program grew approximately 1.9 billion juvenile salmon in a combination of land-based hatcheries and ocean-based net pens in 2022. Approximately 43 million aquaculture-raised salmon returned as adults that same year to be captured within the commercial and sport fishery.

One example evidenced by CAIA is the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association. The Association collects salmon eggs late summer that are incubated through the fall and winter, then put into marine pens in late winter or early spring. The fry (young fish) are reared in marine net pens for approximately five months before being released into the wild in late spring to supply the commercial fishing industry and sport angling sector.

In 2020, the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) published nine peer-reviewed reports that concluded that salmon farming in British Columbia poses “no more than a minimal risk of harm to the Fraser River Sockeye salmon.”

This year, the world-leading FAIRR Initiative released their 2023/2024 Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index. Seven of the top 10 protein producers in the world are salmon farmers, with two British Columbia salmon farming companies ranked first and third in the world.

The Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index assessed 60 of the largest publicly traded global meat, dairy and aquaculture companies on social and governance themes aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking to the Coller FAIRR results, Kennedy adds: “There is such an incredible opportunity for the modern, sustainable, in-ocean salmon farming sector in Canada. In addition to playing a leadership role in environmental and wild salmon stewardship, Canadian salmon farmers are producing a healthy and secure Canadian food, creating year-round jobs, and they are opening new economic opportunities for rural, coastal and Indigenous communities.”

Some facts about British Columbia salmon aquaculture:

  • Today, 100% of BC farmed salmon are under agreement with local rights-holder First Nations.
  • Before government-directed shutdowns since 2020, the BC salmon farming sector was the largest agri-food export for the sector. The sector employed approximately 6,500 people, produced close to 500 million salmon meals per year, received inputs from over 1,000 individual suppliers and had an economic value of $2 Billion.
  • Shutdowns since 2020 reduced supply by 40%, negatively impacting the ability of Canadians to purchase local Canadian product, and increasing the carbon footprint of imported salmon to North America by the equivalent of adding over 50,000 cars to the road.


Alaska Salmon Enhancement Report



Coller FAIRR




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