The anti-salmon farming organization Wild First ran a radio ad claiming that wild Pacific salmon are "on the brink of extinction" and calling for the removal of ocean salmon farms to protect them. However, recent research and peer-reviewed studies confirm a record-high abundance of wild Pacific salmon in the ocean since recorded history, so the ad was removed.
In light of this decision, the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) has publicly thanked Pattison Media "for taking swift action to stop airing a factually incorrect radio advertisement by Wild First." Brian Kingzett, Executive Director of the BCSFA, pointed out that "false advertisements by Wild First mislead the public, particularly consumers who rely on accurate information to make informed choices about their food."
Recognized globally through the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index for their commitment to sustainability and responsible aquaculture practices, the BCSFA recalled that BC salmon farmers adhere to strict regulations and follow best management practices to ensure the well-being of their fish, wild Pacific salmon, the surrounding marine environment and the communities in which they operate.
"The spread of this misinformation undermines the significant contributions salmon farming provides to our communities, economy, and environment and is unfair to the hardworking professionals who contribute to this sector," said Brian Kingzett.
BC salmon farmers claim that the best Canadian science and multiple federal commissions and studies continue to support that salmon farming poses no more than minimal risk to wild Pacific salmon. In fact, this is not the first time science has refuted the claims of anti-salmon farming activists in recent months.
As recently as last September, the BCSFA itself demonstrated with independent long-term data that salmon farms are not a major determinant of sea lice levels in wild juvenile salmon, as claimed by anti-salmon activists.
According to the BC salmon farmers' release, this is also not the first time Wild First ads have been taken down due to false information. Recently, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) announced that the organization's anti-salmon farming billboards around Ottawa were removed due to false advertising.
Moreover, after the BCSFA filed an official complaint, CTV News Vancouver also removed a news segment featuring anti-salmon farming advocates that contained false information.
"The continued spread of misinformation by Wild First and other anti-salmon farming organizations emphasizes the need for responsible advocacy based on facts and science," claimed Kingzett. "We commend Pattison Media for their commitment to promoting accurate information and ensuring that false advertising is promptly removed," added the Executive Director of the BCSFA.
Finally, the BC Salmon Farmer Association used the occasion to urge the public "to seek reliable sources and engage in open dialogue to better understand the benefits and sustainable practices of this vital sector."
The BC Salmon Farmers Association includes more than 60 companies and organizations along the finfish aquaculture value chain in British Columbia. Its members represent over 95% of the annual provincial harvest of farmed salmon.
Committed to reconciliation, all farms operating in BC currently do so through agreements, negotiations, or partnerships established with the First Nations in whose territories they operate.
Farmed salmon is British Columbia's highest-value fish product, BC's leading agricultural export, and generates over $1.2 billion for the province's economy, creating thousands of jobs.