Farmed salmon protesters claim victory

Local environmental group rejoices as Safeway becomes the latest store to adopt a sustainable seafood policy.

The Chilliwack chapter of the Farmed Salmon Boycott held a celebration rally at the Safeway grocery store Tuesday after the company announced it would adopt a new sustainable seafood policy.

The group, also known as the Salmon Feedlot Boycott, has spent months publicly protesting the seafood sourcing practices of Safeway and other stores in Chilliwack and around B.C. Members claim that open net fish farms located on the approaches to migratory rivers used by wild salmon release toxins and diseases that contribute to the decline of wild salmon stocks. Salmon from such fish farms should not be sold to consumers, the group believes.

Leader Eddie Gardner has welcomed Safeway’s new policy.

“This is encouraging news and we applaud this sustainable alternative to open net pens on the migration routes of wild salmon,” said Gardner in a release. “This helps us move closer to making Chilliwack an Atlantic farmed fish free zone.”

The manager of the Safeway at 45850 Yale Road led Gardner on a tour of the seafood section of the store, where a banner announcing the new policy was displayed.

Safeway Canada has partnered with SeaChoice, a Canadian comprehensive sustainable seafood program, to advise consumers to avoid red-listed seafood, such as net-pen farmed Atlantic salmon and Yellowfin tuna.

“Canada Safeway continues to build a strong base in our efforts to completely transition our fresh and frozen seafood products to sustainable sources by the end of 2015,” notes the company’s website.

The company also launched its own brand of canned tuna that was sustainably caught.

Safeway joins Save-On Foods, Coopers, and Price Smart in banning open net farmed Atlantic salmon, according to the Farmed Salmon Boycott.

Gary Haggquist, another boycott activist, added: “This will send a clear message to Superstore, Walmart and Costco that they need to direct the Aquaculture Stewardship Council to adopt the same policy as Safeway.”

The Farmed Salmon Boycott is planning future protests at the Chilliwack locations of the Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart.