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Formal dialogue is over, but company continues research initiatives
Campbell River, May 29th, 2012
The formal dialogue between Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) and the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) may be officially over but investment into research continues, company officials confirm.
The Framework for Dialogue began in 2006, instigated by MHC and eight environmental groups collectively known as CAAR. Last week MHC received a letter from CAAR, now comprising just four of the original groups, stating they are removing themselves from the dialogue.
The purpose of the dialogue was to increase communication and reduce conflict surrounding salmon farming in British Columbia as well as to support constructive, interest-based results that addressed the needs of both parties. Two important initiatives that evolved from the dialogue will be continued independently by MHC.
A unique sea lice research program was initiated by CAAR and MHC in 2008. This research grew beyond the two parties and continues today with many stakeholders working together under the leadership of renowned scientist, Dr. Crawford Revie.
In 2011 MHC completed a comprehensive engineering assessment for a land-based, closed containment pilot to grow salmon to market size. While further development of this pilot project did not prove to be cost effective, MHC continues to invest in state-of-the-art land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to grow its salmon to smolt size (~100 grams). MHC currently operates nine land-based RAS systems.
"We learned a lot about CAAR's interests and concerns over the past six years and this has influenced our actions towards improving the environmental sustainability of our business," says Clare Backman, Marine Harvest's Director of Sustainability Programs and lead participant in the dialogue. "But the unfortunate fact is that, regardless of continued improvement to many aspects of our operations, CAAR remains fundamentally opposed to the core of our business - that is, growing salmon in the ocean."
MHC continues to proactively engage with other international and local conservation groups.
Marine Harvest Canada is British Columbia's largest salmon aquaculture company with 500 employees.
Media contact: Clare Backman, Sustainability Programs Director - 250-850-3276 (7258)