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Salmon Aquaculture has caused or contributed to wild fish declines throughout the world However despite this fact salmon aquaculture in British Columbia continues to follow a similar path which is having detrimental effects on its natural environment The BC salmon netcage industry is of major concern as it is intimately linked to an array of environmental social and economic issues Presently the aquaculture industry is encouraged by governments as it provides a multitude of economic opportunities in coastal areas However studies show that the short term benefits are completely overwhelmed by a wide array of environmental and social costs In fact the BC salmon netcage industry as it is operated presently threatens the survival of fragile wild fish stocks such as the Fraser River salmon and puts human health at risk Ellis et al 1997 Conducted in open net pens in the coastal regions of the ocean this form of industrial fish production invariably results in many serious problems which need to be addressed immediately However before these problems can be addressed an overview of the present BC salmon netcage industry is needed along with the potential environmental impacts At the end of the report a number of possible solutions will be discussed The aim of this report is to illustrate the need for a major shift in the present salmon netcage industry to a more sustainable model Presently most salmon which are to be farmed are incubated and reared for up to two years in a private hatchery before going into the freshwater phase The one- or two-year-old smolts are then introduced to the freshwater cages Cage size varies depending on the operation but are usually 50 metres square by 20 metres deep Cages are constructed of knotless nylon to reduce the degree of damage to the fish however all harvested fish show some damage The number of fish started at each site also varies depending on the age in which they are
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