Knowles calls on British Columbia to continue fish farm moratorium

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles on Tuesday called on the government of British Columbia to continue a moratorium on new fish farms.

The moratorium has been in effect for seven years, but the B.C. government plans to lift the ban. The B.C. government announced last week the moratorium will remain in place only temporarily until regulations are final.

At a news conference Tuesday, Knowles said fishermen, scientists and environmentalists are growing increasingly concerned about potential environmental effects of British Columbia's Atlantic salmon farms.

He wants the moratorium on new farms to remain in place until a scientific review of the effects of fish farming on wild salmon is complete. Knowles is also calling on British Columbia to move the existing salmon aquaculture industry to fully contained onshore farms.

Mike Morton, press secretary to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, said Tuesday afternoon the premier had just received the letter and was in meetings and unavailable for comment.

Knowles said problems associated with farmed salmon in British Columbia have increased in recent months, including the spread of disease among farmed fish.

In addition, biologists fear the thousands of Atlantic salmon that escaped from fish farms in recent years could threaten wild Pacific salmon.

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