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NL farmed Atlantic salmon graded ‘red’ again for seafood to avoid

California-based Seafood Watch has once again graded Newfoundland's south coast at-sea fish farming industry with a sustainability rating of red for "avoid" — the result of significant impacts on the environment.due to a combination of chemical use, escapes, and disease.

NL was one of 30 regions graded around the world, with 22 regions rating red for avoid, and eight rating yellow for good alternative. None of the regions scored a green for "best choice" grade. The grades may last five years.

The assessment was part of a Seafood Watch report released last week evaluating salmon farming production areas around the world.

Cooke Aquaculture salmon farms in Nova Scotia received an upgraded sustainability rating of yellow in the international assessment, although environmental groups are wary of the findings.

In terms of Newfoundland's at-sea aquaculture industry, here's Sea Watch's "justification" for its rating:

Go here to find more information on Sea Watch's explanation of farmed salmon recommendation updates 2021.

British Columbia's Atlantic salmon farm grading was downgraded to a red from a yellow due to chemical and disease ratings.

Ironically, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray is quoted in today's Globe and Mail newspaper saying her government is committed to phasing out open-net fish farms off the BC coast by 2025.

As the Globe article pointed out, "Fish farms are controversial because of the risks they pose to wild salmon, including parasitic sea lice that can glom on to young fish as they make their way to the ocean from the lakes and streams where they were born."

But at the same time Ottawa shuts down at-sea fish farms on Canada's West Coast, the federal government invests in aquaculture off the East Coast in southern Newfoundland.

Last I looked British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador were both part of the same Canada, although you'd never say that looking through a federal aquaculture lens.

That's simply not good enough.

Ryan Cleary,


To sign-up for SEA-NL'S January founding convention go here. If you have need any assistance registering please contact Rose Genge at 745-8157.

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