Norway-based Cermaq is preparing to deploy a new ocean-based closed containment salmon pen design in B.C. Fish are reared in a closed-containment pen shown in foreground, then transferred to conventional pens to finish development. (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

‘Not technically feasible’: Grand Forks volunteers stack sandbags to fill in damaged dike

Residents hoped governments would do emergency repairs, but learned Sunday that it was up to them

Boundary freshet 2020: At least 189 properties ordered to evacuate as of June 1

Real-time gauges on the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby rivers suggested Monday water near peak

Flood warning issued for Boundary as Kettle River expected to rise to 20-year return level

RDKB: This amounts to a high flood risk for low-lying properties in the region

SD 51 students are allowed to return to school this week – under very different rules

School on June 1 and June 2 was cancelled due to the local state of emergency

UPDATED: 189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

How to safely drink water in areas impacted by flooding

Quality and safety of drinking water can be affected during and after floods

Most Read