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Stop the “organic” certification of net-cage farmed salmon! 

We expect the organic label to mean the food we're buying is produced in a way that is better for the environment and our health. But the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) has proposed 'organic' aquaculture standards that would certify aquaculture practices that are already harming our oceans.

Under the proposed standards net-cage raised salmon would be granted organic certification with no substantive changes to current practices: allowing the use of pesticides; up to 100% non-organic and potentially unsustainable wild fish feed; and net-cages which scientific evidence has linked to negatively harming wild salmon and marine ecosystems.

The CGSB has released two drafts of the proposed standards for public comment. Over 100 signatures from concerned business, conservation and consumer organizations and fishermen were collected from the US and Canada in joint letters objecting to the first draft in the summer of 2010 and to the second draft in the spring of 2011. (See details on our website.) Public comments received on the second draft are currently under review by the CGSB.

Organic aquaculture standards should adhere to the same set of principles used in standards for other organically certified food products. Based on the content of the first two drafts of the organic aquaculture standard, this does not look likely.

We are urging residents of Canada and consumers in the United States to take action and let the CGSB know you oppose the organic certification of net-cage salmon farms. The US remains the largest market for Canadian farmed salmon and until US organic aquaculture standards are passed into regulation, Canadian “organic” salmon could be sold on American shelves and menus.

Sign our petition today and we will be sure to let you know when the final standard is released and further action we can take.

Posted by the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform

Letter to
Canadian General Standards Board Mark Schuessler
Re: The proposed Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard

Components of the Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard as currently drafted violate the very principles of organic production.

The standards allow for the use of parasiticides which is inconsistent with current organic standards and what consumers have come to expect when choosing organic. The standards also allow more wild fish to be used in feed than farmed fish produced, allowing a net-loss of marine protein that depletes natural systems. Organic principles within the aquaculture standard state biological productivity must be maximized.

The standards do not include strong measures to prevent well-documented impacts of net-cages on the health of wild salmon and marine ecosystems:

• Escapes of farmed fish
• Uncontrolled disposal of fish feces into the ocean
• Release of synthetic parasticides directly into the ocean
• Entanglement deaths of marine mammals, and
• The spread of disease and parasites

In the very least, a Canadian organic aquaculture standard needs to reflect practices that address the well-researched impacts of aquaculture. Such a standard would support producers that are using innovative practices to deliver truly sustainable products.

I urge the Canadian General Standards Board to ensure that the “Canadian Organic Aquaculture” standard does not accommodate either the use of non-organic, wild fish as feed or open net-cage systems. It is our hope that the organic label will continue to provide consumers with a clear and consistent understanding of how their food is produced and ensure them that their choice of an organic food product supports a safer, more humane, more sustainable environment.

The Undersigned

Bronwen Barnett started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,766 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.