Dear Friends and Neighbours,
Risks to wild salmon populations from fish farms are one of the top concerns I hear about from Vancouver Quadra constituents. Salmon farming, a $740 million dollar industry in BC, also provides vital jobs for remote coastal and indigenous communities.
Over the past year I have been championing a firm end date for open net pen salmon aquaculture on Canada’s Pacific Coast. This gives the salmon aquaculture industry time to develop competitive sustainable alternatives, and retain jobs in aquaculture-dependent communities. Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc is committed to the sustainability of wild salmon and open to exploring my recommendation.
Minister Leblanc has been rebuilding the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ research capacity, legislative powers and wild stock assessment and monitoring activities, all but gutted by the previous government.
As well, the federal government has implemented many of the Cohen Commission recommendations, including increasing research investment into the risk of pathogen transfer from farmed to wild salmon.
Since my time as BC’s environment minister I have been dedicated to protecting and restoring wild salmon populations. While the path forward may not be easy for the aquaculture industry, protecting wild salmon has to be the priority, and is the real key to sustainable fisheries-based jobs and coastal communities for future generations.
Let me know, In your view:
Open net pen aquaculture industry
o Can continue, while improving its practices and systems
o Should be given ten years notice of a mandatory shut-down date, and helped in developing cost effective land or closed pen systems
o Should be phased out over seven years as aquaculture leases come up for renewal, as in the State of Washington