The Canadian Government Plans To Phase Out Open-Net Salmon Farming by 2025. Here's a B.C. Operator Who May Be Ready for that Transition

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The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

On its transition from a slithery fish to a delicious meal, the salmon is likely to have been involved in the destruction of marine ecosystems, the slaughter of bycatch, the pollution of the ocean and the death and poverty of low-income fishermen in the East.

Netflix Inc.’s NFLX controversial documentary “Seaspiracy” sheds light on these issues in a cinematic fashion, emphasizing the corruption, death and misery behind the “simple” fishing industry through clandestine interviews.

Despite the prevalence of such corruption, some seafood companies have taken drastic measures to ensure that the social and environmental repercussions of their activities are limited. In some cases, like with Blue Star Foods Corp. BSFC, this effort extends beyond limiting harm and onto improvement.

“Throughout the past 25 years, sustainable development has been at the core of our business strategy and brand ethos,” Blue Star CEO John Keeler said in a company sustainability report. “For Blue Star, sustainability is not just a trend or clever growth tactic; it is central to our operations a mainstay of growth and innovation.”

The latest sustainability concerns stem from open-net salmon farming practices occurring in oceans around the world. In British Colombia, agencies such as Wild First have shown that these farms act as amplifiers, cooking up viruses that later spread onto free-roaming salmon. The result is a highly diseased, high-mortality salmon farm and record declines in returning species. 

Heeding these concerns, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration recently announced a plan to transition from ocean, open-net salmon farming to a land-based alternative by 2025. Measures to enact this transition have already taken place in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands, where 19 open-net fishing farms are poised to close by June.

Blue Star Foods: How Does it Adapt?

Luckily for Blue Star, decades of focus on sustainability measures have made it an early adopter of the latest regulatory practices. Three months before the government’s official announcement, the international seafood company announced a plan to build an on-land salmon fishing farm through a partnership with PR Aqua ULC.

Blue Star Foods already has established a presence in the crab meat market so the new on-land salmon farm provides the company with an opportunity to expand its revenue stream and maintain sustainability practices. Compared to competitors such as Aquabounty Technologies Inc. AQB, which has used genetic modification to pursue sustainable fishing, Blue Star’s emphasis on recirculating aquaculture systems (RASes) provides a simpler method to achieving the same goal.

Operating as a high-tech fish tank, RASes grant salmon growers control over minute variables such as water temperature and oxygen levels. This allows them to create optimal living conditions for their salmon, which translates to better quality meat that is, free of antibiotics, pollutants and microplastics found in our ocean waters.

This sustainability practice is just one of many for Blue Star. Whether it’s the company’s traceability app, its commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals or its mission to improve workers’ quality of life, Blue Star has demonstrated it cares about more than just profits.

“More than ever, the world needs responsible and ethical seafood companies to ensure that planetary balances are respected and maintained,” Keeler wrote.

As these issues command the attention of governments and consumers, Blue Star Foods may already have claimed its mark on leading sustainability practices.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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