POLITICS

Senate Aquaculture Report Calls For More Transparency For $1-Billion Industry

07/30/2015 03:37 EDT | Updated 07/30/2015 07:59 EDT

HALIFAX — A Senate report on Canada's $1-billion aquaculture industry is recommending the creation of a national database that would offer the public access to information about every aquaculture operator in the country.

The three-volume report, released today in Ottawa after 18 months of study, offers nine other recommendations, including a call for a new federal Aquaculture Act and more research on finfish aquaculture and the impact of pesticides used on sea lice.

The Senate's standing committee on fisheries and oceans also says the federal Fisheries Department should get the provinces, the research community and the aquaculture industry to determine where there are gaps in aquaculture research.

Conservation groups say the call for an Aquaculture Act has been a long-standing request from the industry, and critics say it could lead to less protection for wild fish.

A spokeswoman for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, which is opposed to the use of open-net pens in salmon farming, says the industry requires more transparency and less self-regulation.

The Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, which is also opposed to ocean-based salmon farming, says there should be more of an emphasis on land-based, closed-containment fish farming.

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