Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm was the company’s final B.C. production site to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm was the company’s final B.C. production site to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)

Conservation group challenges sustainable-certification claims of B.C. salmon farmer

Mowi West Canada refutes accusations it was ‘misleading’ public

A farmed salmon producer is refuting allegations it misled the public by stating all of its B.C. farms meet the certification standards of a prominent sustainable-aquaculture organization.

Earlier this month, Mowi Canada West announced the last two of its 28 Atlantic salmon farms in B.C. had received certification from the Netherlands-based Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), an independent, market-oriented organization aiming to minimize the environmental and social footprints of commercial aquaculture.

Full certification allows Mowi to market its farmed product with the ASC Certified label.

However Seachoice, a collaboration of the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre and the Living Oceans Society, says because ASC only certifies production farms, Mowi is exploiting a loophole that allows them to claim full certification without accounting for their interim smolt farms.

READ MORE: Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent council

“Mowi Canada West’s final grow-out farms might be all ASC-certified, but it should be noted that many of those [interim] farms do not comply fully with the standard because of ASC-approved exemptions from criteria such as no maximum sea lice limit for B.C. certified farms,” Seachoice said.

As a result, Seachoice estimates up to 14 months of Mowi’s production cycle may avoid ASC assessments of sea lice loads, or antibiotic and chemical treatments.

“To state that all of its farms off B.C.’s coast are certified is simply misleading,” Seachoice added. “An ASC label does not necessarily guarantee the fish was ‘farmed responsibly’ from egg to harvest.”

All of Mowi West Canada’s farms, including the interim sites, are certified for Best Aquaculture Practice under the Global Aquaculture Alliance, recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

READ MORE: First Nations call for end to B.C. open-net salmon farms

Mowi West Canada confirmed its interim farms are not eligible for ASC certification, but hopes the council broadens its criteria in the future.

“ASC standards were developed using a robust and transparent process and are challenging to achieve. ASC certification is a statement of our values and commitment to social and environmental sustainability, something we strive for at all sites, regardless of whether they are eligible for ASC certification,” a spokesperson said.

“Mowi West Canada has certified every site that it is able to under the scope of the ASC Salmon Standard. If this changes and additional types of sites are added to the program’s scope Mowi will add those sites into its certification process.”

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media, an ASC spokesperson said the council is continually updating its certification standards based on the latest science, and will examine how interim farms can fit into its mandate.

“We are aware that the use of “interim grow-out sites” has been adopted in some salmon-producing regions recently, as geographically distinct sites that hold and grow smolts, seeking to improve the ability to manage, amongst other things, sea lice over the salmon’s production cycle. We are investigating the extent of the practice globally, and the implications of incorporating the assessment of interim sites under the ASC Salmon Standard.”

The review will involve stakeholders and interest groups, including Mowi Canada West and Seachoice.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

EnvironmentFisheries lawOcean ProtectionSalmon

Just Posted

Divyesh Nagarajan, third from the left, has founded the Be My Friend project to bring support and companionship to vulnerable youth and address North Saanich’s food security challenges. (Courtesy of Divyesh Nagarajan)
Greater Victoria teen looks to connect vulnerable youth with a buddy, bolster food security

Be My Friend project was founded by St. Michaels University School student Divyesh Nagarajan

Greater Victoria is ranked fourth out of 27 Canadian cities for the best places for youth to work in, according to a RBC report. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria among best Canadian cities for youth to work in, says RBC report

Region ranked fourth out of 27, behind Vancouver, Hamilton and Edmonton

Donna Brower (left) and her daughter Carol Anne Penner, members of the Silver Swans – a quilting group of 12 ladies who meet at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary – with a mountain of masks they sewed. (Photo submitted by Julia Dawson)
Saanich quilting group nabs first prize in Volunteer BC photo contest

Silver Swans sewing club raised more than $12,000 for Swan Lake nature sanctuary

Saanich police reported an increase in violent crimes and a drop in traffic incidents in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final quarter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police report increase in violent crimes during first quarter of 2021

More domestic violence, less property crime and distracted driving compared to end of 2020

Happy green tomato seedlings wait to be purchased at 3378 Wishart Rd. in Colwood. They’ve been grown especially for the Colwood Garden Society’s fundraiser to build a shed at the community garden. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Colwood Garden Society hopes to raise shed with plant sale

Herbs, vegetable starts, flowers and more for $1, $2 and $3 until May 15

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Most Read