BC salmon farming industry welcomes talks after years of “ad hoc” talks


The Managing Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association said he welcomed a formal consultation process on the future of the industry after years of “extraordinary” discussions on Ottawa’s commitment to end open-net salmon farming.

Ruth Salmon said the industry, indigenous peoples, the federal government, and the British Columbia government will come together to discuss how to move from an open net farm.

Studies show that open-net pens can spread disease to wild fish, but salmon says salmon will bring new technologies to reduce the interaction of wild and farmed fish without fixing farms to the global aquaculture industry. Said it was changing.

The power of attorney to Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray entrusts her with a plan to move away from open-net salmon farming in British Columbia’s waters by 2025, while working on Canada’s first aquaculture method.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced on Wednesday that the open-net salmon farm may continue to operate during the consultation process, which is scheduled to run until early 2023.

Murray and her department will consult with indigenous communities, industry, environmental groups and governments at various levels to propose a planning framework, the minister said in an interview Thursday.

The plan is “for a new regulatory system that will lead to this transition to places where there is little or no contact between wild and farmed salmon,” she said.

Prime Minister John Horgan wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March, stating that plans to end open-net aquaculture require support for the industry and its workers.

According to Murray, it’s too early to say what support for coastal areas looks like, but Ottawa will work closely with the state government.

New Democratic fishery critic Lisa Marie Varon issued a statement Thursday, with talks on withdrawal from open-net farms a few years before the Liberal government first announced its intention to phase out them. He said he should have been.

“Almost three years later, there has been no significant work done to provide a clear transition plan for indigenous peoples, workers and coastal communities,” said Baron, who represents Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s Vancouver Island riding. I am.

Murray acknowledged that a pledge to end open-net pen farming was made in 2019, but said action has been taken since then.

She said that farmed Atlantic salmon no longer exist in the Discovery Islands, accounting for about 30 percent of the aquaculture industry off British Columbia.

After Murray’s predecessor announced in late 2020 that 19 salmon farms will be phased out by the end of this month, the number of local farmers along the main route of wild salmon migration has already shrunk. Was starting.

A federal court judge set aside the decision this spring, claiming that the three companies “did not show an understanding of the facts” for no reason after applying for a judicial review of the order to prevent replenishment of the farm. I did.

In her April ruling, Judge Elizabeth Hennegan of the Federal Court found that the minister’s order violated the rights of procedural justice owed to the fish farm.

Ottawa is currently embarking on a separate consultation process between First Nations and the fish farm operators, and Murray has announced the possibility of non-renewal of salmon licenses, which is scheduled for final decision in January next year. He said it would include discussions.

“It’s important to talk to the people who are affected.”

The federal government will not reissue licenses for Atlantic salmon farms around the Discovery Islands for the time being.

Cermaq Canada, one of the operators that applied for judicial review, said in a statement that the company has signed several agreements with First Nations since the decision and will follow their leadership in the consultation process.

“Therefore, we are ready and ambitious to engage in the process of recognizing the common interests of the parties in investigating what food production looks like in the Discovery Islands region. Rights and oversight will be crucial to future Selmac activities in the region. “

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada said that for dozens of salmon farming businesses outside the Discovery Islands, a two-year license renewal would be subject to more stringent conditions, such as sea turtle management plans and wild salmon monitoring requirements.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association welcomes the consultation process, but is disappointed that license renewals are no longer being done to drive investment in industry innovation, said Salmon, Interim Standing Director. increase.

“Short-term licenses don’t really give investors the kind of confidence they need to invest in Canada,” she said.

“We need to know that the government feels that there is a future, because it is in line with the amount of investment, so there are exciting ideas of all kinds, but their security is ensured. Until then, they cannot be operated. “

The First Nations for Finn Fish Stewardship also issued a statement that the coalition called for a longer-term renewal, but Ottawa acknowledged the country’s right to pursue seafood production on its territory and discovered. Thank you for reissuing the license outside the archipelago.

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