Aquaculture North America

DFO proposes further closures of salmon farms in B.C.

May 26, 2023
By Maryam Farag

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Joyce Murray is proposing the further removal of salmon farms in B.C. after recently closing 40 per cent of existing farms since 2020.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) has grave concerns that the Minister Murray is committed to closing salmon farming in B.C., a sector that provides thousands of direct and indirect jobs in coastal, rural British Columbia.

“A decision like this will result in the loss of thousands of jobs, trample Indigenous Rights, and leave businesses who support the industry scrambling to survive,” said Brian Kingzett, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “This decision is not based on any credible science, including DFO’s own peer-reviewed studies, and is not supported by the many First Nations who want to continue salmon farming in their waters. The closure of salmon farming will decrease Canada’s local food supply, forcing Canada to import salmon from other countries to meet the needs of Canadian consumers at a significant price increase. The plan will also take away the ability of BC’s rural, coastal communities to participate in Canada’s Blue Economy.”

According to the BCSFA, any transition plan that does not consider the socio-economic impacts on the communities that rely on salmon farming, the sector’s contribution to the Blue Economy, climate change, and food security will fail.

“The entire Transition framework engagement process has been flawed from the start. Minister Murray has not followed her own engagement plan, and we have constantly seen shifting deadlines and goalposts affecting the ability of participants to engage effectively, including the First Nations and salmon farming organizations. In addition, we have had to deal with constantly changing processes, deliverables, and extremely challenging deadlines. How do you achieve success when the DFO Minister keeps changing the rules and timelines?” said Kingzett.

“Any proposed further reduction, which some may claim is a reasonable compromise, could signal the closure of the entire sector. A sector which has seen recent closures of 40 per cent of its production since 2020. This approach is anything but responsible.”

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