Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm was the company’s final B.C. production site to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)

Conservation group challenges sustainable-certification claims of B.C. salmon farmer

Mowi West Canada refutes accusations it was ‘misleading’ public

A farmed salmon producer is refuting allegations it mislead the public by stating all of its B.C. farms meet the certification standards of a prominent sustainable-aquaculture organization.

Earlier this month, Mowi Canada West announced the last two of its 28 Atlantic salmon farms in B.C. had received certification from the Netherlands-based Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), an independent, market-oriented organization aiming to minimize the environmental and social footprints of commercial aquaculture.

Full certification allows Mowi to market its farmed product with the ASC Certified label.

However Seachoice, a collaboration of the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre and the Living Oceans Society, says because ASC only certifies production farms, Mowi is exploiting a loophole that allows them to claim full certification without accounting for their interim smolt farms.

READ MORE: Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent council

“Mowi Canada West’s final grow-out farms might be all ASC-certified, but it should be noted that many of those [interim] farms do not comply fully with the standard because of ASC-approved exemptions from criteria such as no maximum sea lice limit for B.C. certified farms,” Seachoice said.

As a result, Seachoice estimates up to 14 months of Mowi’s production cycle may avoid ASC assessments of sea lice loads, or antibiotic and chemical treatments.

“To state that all of its farms off B.C.’s coast are certified is simply misleading,” Seachoice added. “An ASC label does not necessarily guarantee the fish was ‘farmed responsibly’ from egg to harvest.”

All of Mowi West Canada’s farms, including the interim sites, are certified for Best Aquaculture Practice under the Global Aquaculture Alliance, recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

READ MORE: First Nations call for end to B.C. open-net salmon farms

Mowi West Canada confirmed its interim farms are not eligible for ASC certification, but hopes the council broadens its criteria in the future.

“ASC standards were developed using a robust and transparent process and are challenging to achieve. ASC certification is a statement of our values and commitment to social and environmental sustainability, something we strive for at all sites, regardless of whether they are eligible for ASC certification,” a spokesperson said.

“Mowi West Canada has certified every site that it is able to under the scope of the ASC Salmon Standard. If this changes and additional types of sites are added to the program’s scope Mowi will add those sites into its certification process.”

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media, an ASC spokesperson said the council is continually updating its certification standards based on the latest science, and will examine how interim farms can fit into its mandate.

“We are aware that the use of “interim grow-out sites” has been adopted in some salmon-producing regions recently, as geographically distinct sites that hold and grow smolts, seeking to improve the ability to manage, amongst other things, sea lice over the salmon’s production cycle. We are investigating the extent of the practice globally, and the implications of incorporating the assessment of interim sites under the ASC Salmon Standard.”

The review will involve stakeholders and interest groups, including Mowi Canada West and Seachoice.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

EnvironmentFisheries lawOcean ProtectionSalmon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

First downtown parklet patio installed on 1st Avenue

Social distancing regulations will determine the total seat count

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

Most Read