A group of B.C. chefs are calling on the provincial government to nix open net-pen salmon farms in B.C.
Along with David Suzuki, five chefs behind well-known restaurants in Vancouver, say the province needs to do a better job protecting wild salmon and support the Vancouver Island First Nation who are opposed to the projects.
In a letter signed by 50 chefs across B.C. and sent to Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, the group is recommending the province incentives closed-containment farms and review the current status of B.C.s wild salmon populations.
“For thousands of years, salmon have been a sacred gift to Indigenous people living on countless rivers emptying into the Pacific Ocean,” the letter reads. “As chefs, we believe wild salmon are the highest quality for taste and nutrition and should be a priority for protection and restoration.”
David Hawksworth, owner of Hawksworth Restaurant, Robert Clark from Fish Counter, Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s, Jeremy Belcourt of Salmon n’ Bannock and Meeru Dhalwala of Vij’s and Rongoli convened in downtown Vancouver today for a news conference.
The call for change comes as the government is considering renewing tenures for 20 open net-pen salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago – a main migratory route for juvenile wild salmon.
Washington State announced it would be phasing out open net-pen Atlantic salmon aquaculture farms last month, making B.C. the only West Coast area to still allow them.
The state’s decision comes after more than 5,000 Atlantic salmon escaped a Cooke Aquaculture pen in August 2017, with some of the fish making it as far as the Fraser River in Chilliwack.