Concerns around Surrey’s economy and Indigenous reconciliation after B.C. salmon farms closures
June 1, 2023
By Maryam Farag
At a recent press conference held by The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) and BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA), SBOT announced its concern about the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Joyce Murray’s intention to propose additional closures of salmon farms as part of her British Columbia salmon farming transition plan.
Surrey is the hub of salmon farming in Metro Vancouver, home to numerous operations in salmon feed milling, fish processing, trucking, packaging, and the provision of goods and services, “and is already experiencing negative impacts due to the already 40 per cent reduction in salmon farming production since 2020.”
“We have seen the impacts the closures have had on our businesses in Surrey,” said Anita Huberman, president & CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “Last year Mowi Canada West permanently closed their fish processing plant, which resulted in the loss of 80 direct jobs locally, and this isn’t the only example. There still has been no government action to support these workers.”
Any further closures of salmon farms will mean the removal of the entire salmon farming sector in BC. The closure of salmon farms does not only impact producing companies but many local businesses on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland as the sector is interconnected, with an extensive supply chain.
An earlier report prepared by RIAS Inc., an independent economics firm, found salmon farming companies have a direct economic impact in Surrey from fish processing, feed milling, truck transportation, packaging, and warehousing and distribution operations in that municipality.
Direct impacts at risk within Surrey attributed to salmon farming companies include (RIAS Inc., 2021):
· $220 million in annual revenue;
· $46 million in GDP;
· 344 full-time jobs; and
· $24 million in annual salaries.
The province-wide indirect and induced economic impacts at risk generated by Surrey’s salmon
farming hub include (RIAS Inc., 2021):
· Over $363 million in annual revenues;
· $122 million in GDP;
· 1,189 full-time jobs; and
· $65 million in salaries.
“We are calling on the federal government to bring a more rational approach to the transition plan and include other Ministers in providing leadership to developing a reasonable path forward,” said Brian Kingzett, executive director at BC Salmon Farmers Association.
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