Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray has introduced the federal authorities is not going to renew licences for 15 open-net Atlantic salmon farms round British Columbia’s Discovery Islands.
Murray says in a information launch the Discovery Islands space is a key migration route for wild salmon the place slender passages carry migrating juvenile salmon into shut contact with the farms.
She says latest science signifies uncertainty over the dangers posed by the farms to wild salmon, and the federal government is dedicated to growing a accountable plan to transition away from open-net farming in coastal B.C. waters.
Open-net fish farms off B.C.’s coast have been a serious flashpoint, with environmental teams and a few Indigenous nations saying the farms are linked to the switch of illness to wild salmon, whereas the business and a few native politicians say hundreds of jobs are threatened if operations are phased out.
“I’ve to take note of the plight of untamed salmon, that are in a state of great decline,” she stated in an interview Friday.
Session with First Nations
She stated the choice got here after in depth consultations with First Nations, the business and others, and the division is taking a “extremely precautionary” strategy to managing salmon farming within the space.
Murray stated she referred to as First Nations and business representatives Friday earlier than saying what she stated was a troublesome however vital choice to guard wild salmon from the potential dangers posed by farmed fish.
“There have been some assessments from DFO that recommend minimal danger and there is additionally been science since that major evaluation that has been suggesting that there might be danger from the viruses and sea lice from the farms,” she stated.
Within the information launch she says there are a number of stressors on wild salmon, together with local weather change, habitat degradation and each regulated and unlawful fishing.
Worry over job losses
Murray’s mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked her with growing the plan to shift from open-net salmon farming in B.C. waters by 2025, whereas working to introduce Canada’s first Aquaculture Act.
Fisheries and Oceans stated final summer time that open-net salmon farms could proceed working throughout a session course of that is at the moment underway, with the ultimate plan to transition 79 farms anticipated to be launched later within the yr.
The federal authorities introduced in December 2020 that it will section out 19 Atlantic salmon farms within the Discovery Islands space of Vancouver Island.
It additionally stated fish farm licences wouldn’t be renewed.
Former B.C. premier John Horgan despatched a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau final March saying there’s widespread concern the federal authorities is poised to decide that would threaten lots of of jobs and the economies of coastal communities.
Horgan urged the prime minister to guarantee the salmon farming sector that an acceptable transition program shall be applied and should embody First Nations and communities that depend on fish farms economically.
The B.C. Salmon Farmers Affiliation has stated an financial evaluation concluded the province may lose greater than 4,700 jobs and as much as $1.2 billion in financial exercise yearly if salmon farm licences usually are not renewed.
However B.C.’s First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance says greater than 100 First Nations assist the federal authorities’s plan to transition away from open-net salmon farms.
Alliance spokesman Bob Chamberlin stated earlier wild salmon runs are struggling and choices have to be made to assist shares rebound.
LISTEN | CBC reporter Emily Vance explains the stakes for salmon farming in B.C.:
15:11Federal authorities engaged on transition plan to maneuver away from open-net pen salmon farming on B.C.’s coast