A coalition representing more than 40 consumer, environmental and scientific groups has submitted a comment to the Canadian General Standards Board Committee (CGSBC), objecting to several provisions in a proposed Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard. According to a press release, the joint letter alleges that the draft standard “is contrary to the basic principles of organics as it would allow certification of net pen farmed salmon” and other carnivorous finfish.
The signatories take particular umbrage at the sections relating to net pen production that would reportedly permit (i) antibiotic and pesticide use; (ii) “uncontrolled” waste disposal into the ocean; (iii) unlimited use of “sustainable” wild fish in feed; and (iv) feed containing 30 percent or less “non-organic, unsustainable sources” if organic sources are not available. The letter also raises concern about “the spread of disease and parasites lethal to wild fish,” as well as the possibility of escaping farm fish and “lethal interactions with marine mammals.”
“Consumers deserve clear assurance that their choice of organic products supports a safer and more sustainable environment. Fish labeled as ‘organic’ that are not fed 100 percent organic feed, come from polluting open net pen systems, or that are contaminated with PCBs fall significantly short of expectations for organic products,” stated a spokesperson for Consumers Union, which signed the response to CGSBC. See Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform Press Release, August 31, 2010.