Norway-based Cermaq is preparing to deploy a new ocean-based closed containment salmon pen design in B.C. (Cermaq Canada)

Liberal Party salmon farm pledge ‘destructive,’ industry group says

Justin Trudeau platform calls for ‘closed containment’ by 2025

B.C. and Canadian salmon farm industry groups are blasting a Liberal Party election promise to shift to “closed containment” as “reckless” and a threat to 7,000 jobs on the B.C. coast.

The Liberal pledge is for B.C. only, and doesn’t apply to steelhead, shellfish or other farmed species besides raising Atlantic salmon that is the backbone of the B.C. industry. It calls for the transition to be made by 2025, a timeline industry representatives say contradicts work that has been done.

The move is “destructive, careless and flies in the face of making decisions about aquaculture based on science and facts,” John Paul Fraser, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said Tuesday.

“At a time when leaders should be focusing on climate change and climate action, the Liberal Party is looking to shut down the seafood farming method with the lowest carbon footprint and suggesting a transition to a technology that depends on manufactured energy.”

Fraser added that the party policy “disrespects” the policy work done in the past year by Jonathan Wilkinson, the B.C. MP and minister for Fisheries and Oceans Canada who has worked with the industry on a transition plan. Fraser said the industry was specifically assured by Wilkinson there would be no arbitrary timeline imposed on new technology.

RELATED: B.C. reaches Indigenous inspection deal for salmon farms

RELATED: Cermaq to bring new closed containment salmon pens to B.C.

Tim Kennedy, CEO of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, representing fish farmers in Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, called it a “reckless policy, not grounded in science, and will threaten good middle-class jobs across Canada.”

Aquaculture is the top agricultural product by by value in B.C., and the national alliance says it supports 26,000 jobs across the country.

The pledge for B.C. is the last paragraph of a “healthy oceans” section of the Liberal platform, which promises that a re-elected Trudeau government will “move forward with more investments in marine science and fighting invasive species, and will work with coastal communities, Indigenous communities and others to better protect fish stocks and marine habitats from changes resulting for climate change.”

B.C. led discussions with Indigenous communities and salmon farm operators in the Broughton Archipelago region off the north end of Vancouver Island that will lead to up to 17 salmon farms closing in the region by 2023. The plan, announced in December 2018 by Wilkinson, Premier John Horgan and representatives of Cermaq Canada, Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest) and local Indigenous leaders, includes a new inspection regime that could see seven of the farms keep operating.

The Broughton region has been a target for international protests for many years, joined in recent years by the Sea Shepherd Society and local celebrity Pamela Anderson.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Port Hardy Mounties help First Nation chief build smokehouse

‘We have great maya’xala for all the community members, in each of the communities…’

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Access to remote Side Bay beach up in the bureaucratic air

Roads to the pristine north west coast Vancouver Island beach at risk of being deactivated

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Most Read