Aquaculture, Salmon and Dinner


Published on January 28, 2013

Letter to the Editor -  by Ward Sampson

There’s more to the story than the industry is saying

Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association , Google , Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife , Newfoundland and Labrador , Nova Scotia , Europe

A couple of days ago, I read a letter to the editor in The Telegram by Cyr Couturier, the executive director of Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, where Couturier lambasted Jim Bennett, the Liberal critic for fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Couturier’s whole letter was written from the point of view that aquaculture was the panacea for saving rural Newfoundland — essentially saying that for Jim Bennett to question the motives of the aquaculture on the south coast of Newfoundland was next to an abysmal sin.

He virtually said that Bennett did not know what he was saying and he further questioned Bennett’s motives and said his motives were only political and nothing more.

More to the story

I take exception to that line of thinking.

I would like readers to Google “Salmon Wars,” a documentary by Silver Donald Cameron of CBC Halifax and view what his report says about aquaculture in Nova Scotia and Europe.

It confirms what Mr. Bennett is saying.

Further to that, we have witnessed two outbreaks of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) disease in farmed salmon on the south coast.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada have declared Atlantic salmon of special concern on south coast rivers, especially the Conne River, and now there seems to be significant problems in the Grey River area.

Is this a coincidence — aquaculture (open pen cages) equates to lesser wild Atlantic salmon?

Disease issues

The aquaculture industry was forced to destroy all salmon in the first incident of the outbreak of ISA — and by the way, ISA is highly contagious and can be found in wild fish.

In the second incident of this disease in farmed salmon, we are still waiting the outcome.

I saw on “Here and Now” the destruction of farmed salmon in landfill sites on the south coast and most of us were thinking that must be terrible for the workers and owners.

I know I had great sympathy for the workers and the aquaculture farm owners.

But on exploring further, our federal government, through a federal loan and insurance, fully compensated the company that owned the aquaculture business.


This seems to be a no-risk business if your product is not suitable for market.

First we give a guaranteed loan for startup funding, and then if your product is not deemed suitable for human consumption, we taxpayers cover the insurance cost of having the farmed salmon destroyed.

Someone enlighten me here.

Mr. Couturier goes on to recommend eating salmon in his last paragraph.

He doesn’t state that he is talking about farmed salmon, but says Health Canada recommends two-three servings of salmon per week for human consumption as they are an excellent source of omega-3, fatty acids, vitamins A and E and low fat protein.

I am not listening to the executive director of Aquaculture Newfoundland and his inference about the consumption of farmed salmon in my diet or for my family’s diet.

Ward W. Samson is a past-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation.