November 12, 2020
Canada takes next step towards transitioning open-net pens in coastal B.C. waters
The Government of Canada is committed to developing and delivering, a real and concrete solution for transitioning open-net pens in coastal British Columbia waters. A change like this requires co-operation, consultation, and engagement, working closely with Indigenous communities, provincial counterparts, and other key stakeholders.
Today, Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour will be engaging with First Nations in B.C., the aquaculture industry, and environmental stakeholders on this important initiative. The results of these engagements will be presented to the Minister in an interim report this Spring, informing her decisions on the way forward.
Close collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous communities, industry, and other stakeholders will be critical in ensuring the transition is workable, economically feasible, and takes into account social impacts.
This next phase builds on work already completed, including:
- the 2019 “State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies Study”, funded by DFO in partnership with Sustainable Development and Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia. This study examined four alternatives to open-net pens for producing market-sized salmon;
- work undertaken by the Indigenous and Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Aquaculture;
- the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report ‘An Ocean of Opportunities: Aquaculture in Canada”, and;
- the final 2018 Report from the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.
As we move forward, we will explore the use of an area-based management approach to aquaculture, which fosters collaboration, while improving information sharing, collective planning, ongoing management, and decision-making. Consideration will also be given to the Framework for Aquaculture Risk Management (FARM), currently being finalized by DFO, which is grounded in the precautionary approach and guides the Department’s management of aquaculture.
Work on the transition will complement the department’s Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan, which is a coordinated action plan, that builds on 13 years of work guided by the Wild Salmon Policy to protect and restore these incredible populations.
“British Columbians and Canadians expect that as our works to grow our ocean economy, we are doing it in a sustainable, environmentally-responsible way; meeting the demand for our farmed seafood products, while ensuring marine ecosystems are healthy and wild fish populations are protected. All voices will be heard during the development of this important initiative and I look forward to the outcomes of these engagements as we move forward on this transition together.”
– Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“I am looking forward to working collaboratively with our partners, on what the future of aquaculture could look like in British Columbia and I will be ensuring that all voices are heard. We will soon be engaging interested parties to seek their views on what a responsible open-net transition could include.”
– Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour
- The aquaculture sector provides safe, high-quality Canadian products to markets here at home and around the world.
- It is a key component of our blue economy – the economy driven by sustainable, ocean resources – which accounts for about $31.65 billion annually in Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs approximately 300,000 Canadians.
- Critical work on the transition will flow from the three technical working groups of the Indigenous and Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Aquaculture, established in June 2019. These groups are comprised of representatives of the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, the aquaculture industry, and other key stakeholders and focus on: area-based approaches to aquaculture management; aquaculture production technologies; and, fish health.