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Canada needs to show leadership at international salmon forum


Jun 5, 2023

ST. ANDREWS – Delegates from six countries and the European Union will gather in Moncton this week for the annual meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), an intergovernmental treaty body. ASF is calling on Canada, as host, to show leadership at the forum and follow-through on its commitments to Canadians and the international community on Atlantic salmon.

NASCO member countries, including Canada and the United States, have resolved to protect and restore Atlantic salmon habitat, reduce or eliminate harms from open net pen salmon aquaculture, and manage fisheries sustainably.
Countries are required to submit plans to NASCO that describe the actions they will take, and annual progress reports. Despite five years of effort, Canada, along with some other countries, has been unable to produce a satisfactory plan.

“Particularly when it comes to the negative effects of open net pen salmon aquaculture, Canada has not put forth any acceptable actions to eliminate escapes and minimize the damage to wild salmon from sea lice,” said Bill Taylor, president of ASF. “The federal government can and must do more, and the meetings in Moncton are an opportunity to show the salmon world that Canada takes Atlantic salmon conservation seriously and will honour its commitments.”
In 2021, NASCO member countries participated in a special session on salmon aquaculture. It concluded that evidence of negative impacts from the industry are overwhelming and irrefutable, and action is needed, not more study.

The Moncton meeting comes amid some positive news for wild Atlantic salmon. Recently released data from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, which provides scientific advice and analysis to NASCO, shows more large salmon returned to most North American regions in 2022. The data is summarized in ASF’s latest State of Wild Atlantic Salmon report. Click here to view the report.

“The timing, in the next 12-months is perfect for DFO to finish and fund its promised Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy,” said Taylor, “Canada can begin to show leadership next week in Moncton and continue the momentum in 2024 with a robust, well-funded strategy to conserve and restore our incredible wild salmon and wild rivers. DFO can count on ASF’s full support.”


Neville Crabbe
(506) 467-6804