Salish Sea Inhabitants Cheer as the 'Namgis Nation Opens Canada's First Land Based Salmon Farm

On March 18th, fish entered the 'Namgis First Nation’s Closed Containment Salmon Farm

Whether they walk, crawl or swim Salish Sea inhabitants know that net-pen aquaculture threatens not only the wild salmon but every member of our interconnected biosphere. Consequently, up and down the food chain, from the tiny microbes to the huge orcas, strange cheery sounds can be heard gurgling up from the deep. They are cheers of hope and cheers of praise for The K’udas project created by the ‘Namgis First Nation - The People of the Salmon - whose 4,000-year-old traditions are tied to the Pacific salmon of the Nimpkish River near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island.

The ‘Namgis have seen the open-net-pen fish farms proliferate in the nearby Broughton Archipelago, they've protested with Alexandra Morton and know that diseases and pollution from the farms are killing wild runs of salmon and damaging every member of the ecosphere of their Sacred Salish Sea. “The open net farms are so much a danger to our wild stocks. It affects the herring and everything else around the area. The clams are not healthy. They are a dark colour and smell because of the excrement.” said ‘Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer.

Though the open net fish farming industry has fought tooth and nail for years in the courts and the press to deny it, science has long known what the corporate accountants and lawyers deny - open net fish farms are only profitable because of the costs of waste disposal are avoided, externalized. Like almost every corporate capitalist industry, if the true costs of production were accounted for, especially the long term environmental costs, either the present day salmon farming industry wouldn't exist or their product would cost $1000 a pound.

But as a recent study by Dr. Andrew Wright titled 'Technologies for Viable Salmon Aquaculture' points out profits can be achieved when waste is used as a feedstock for a secondary product, such as lettuce. Another article titled 'Closed containment is affordable' by the David Suzuki Foundation about the success of the AquaSeed operation of a closed containment farm to raise coho salmon in Washington State shows that this new approach is already working well there.

The 'Namgis website describing the details of the 'Namgis Closed Containment Salmon Farm explains the recycled water system developed by the Freshwater Institute they use [see the video below]. The 'Namgis Nation has suffered greatly from the loss of their centuries old wild salmon based lifestyle and culture. No one deserves more credit than them for their energy and patience in developing this project which will when complete play a large part in the re-establishment of an intact ecosphere in the Salish Sea. The Mud Report salutes them and adds its small muddy voice to the cheery sounds being heard gurgling up from the deep.