March 21st, 2016 (Dave White). VANCOUVER ISLAND (NEWS 1130) – Environmental groups are shocked to learn 15 California sea lions were slaughtered by salmon farming company Cermaq Canada on the west coast of Vancouver Island between October and December.
The numbers have been released by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which allows the practice under what’s called “Authorized Marine Mammal Control Activities.”
Bonny Glambeck speaks for Clayoquot Action. She tells us she’s shocked and horrified.
“These animals were living in the area before Cermaq reactivated their farm there. They were aware that they were there and I think it’s terrible that there’s this kind of conflict between open-net pen salmon farms and the wildlife living in Clayoquot Sound,” says Glambeck.
“This is just one of many impacts that the open-net pen farms are having here in Clayoquot Sound, and we think it’s time to get these farms out of the water… so that these types of conflicts won’t be happening in the future,” she adds.
In a written statement, Cermaq Canada says an explanation for the culling was published online in December, as part of public reporting.
It says it makes “significant efforts to prevent any negative interactions with wildlife” but in this case, had to kill the sea lions, “which were damaging our farm in their attempts to reach fish that had been recently entered into the ocean.”
Cermaq adds it has made improvements to the farm set up, discouraging sea lions from getting into the system, adding no other animals have been culled since.