Hollywood superstar with 62 million followers wades into debate on salmon farming

Editorial Staff

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has entered the debate surrounding British Columbia’s fish farms.

Amidst reports that the Canadian government is looking at the possibility of extending the licences of salmon farms, Wolf of Wall Street star Leonardo DiCaprio has taken to social media to express his opposition.


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A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio)

DiCaprio’s Instagram post to his 62 million followers, criticizes the Canadian government’s move as a betrayal of their earlier promise to phase out open-net pen salmon farms by 2025. The actor has urged the public to join the fight against this extension.

“The Canadian government is considering extending the licenses for open-net pen salmon farms in British Columbia (BC) by up to 6 years. This would break their promise to phase out open-net pen salmon farms, which contain non-native Atlantic Salmon, from coastal BC waters by 2025,” wrote the star.

“Join @wildfirstcanada to stop license extensions for ocean-polluting Atlantic salmon farms in BC beyond 2025. Visit the link in bio to learn more.”

Currently, there are 57 operational salmon farms in British Columbia. In a significant step, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) shut down 15 open-net Atlantic salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in February 2023.

The debate over these farms is polarized. Environmentalists argue that these farms pose a threat to wild salmon populations. In contrast, many First Nations communities support the farms for the economic benefits they bring to the areas they operate in.

In a response below the actor’s post, the B.C. Salmon Farmers’ Association, strongly disputed any links between aquaculture and the challenges faced by wild salmon.

According to the association, the details shared with DiCaprio by the activist group Wild First are misleading. They emphasized that their operations have agreements with and respect the rights and titles of the First Nations in the territories where they operate.

The association urged DiCaprio to understand their operations thoroughly before using his platform to advocate for the sector’s shutdown.

Furthermore, the association counters the claims about the impact on wild salmon populations. They assert that there is a scientific consensus indicating salmon farms do not negatively affect wild salmon. They also point out the unsuccessful attempts by the BC government to introduce Atlantic salmon to Pacific waters before the advent of salmon farming, arguing that Atlantic salmon cannot compete with or interbreed with Pacific salmon.


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