National industry group calls for “reasonable path forward” amid Discovery Islands closure
By Mari-Len De Guzman
Another aquaculture group is adding its voice to the growing clamour in the industry for the federal government to re-examine its stance on the future of aquaculture in Canada.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) called for a multi-stakeholder development of a “vision, strategy and plan for the sustainable growth of aquaculture across Canada.”
The CAIA letter comes on the heels of a controversial decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Bernadette Jordan to close net pen salmon farms on British Columbia’s Discovery Islands over the next year and a half, prohibiting the introduction of new fish into the farm sites and only allowing he existing stock in the pens to grow to harvest size.
In the letter, signed by Jennifer Woodland, CAIA chair, and Timothy Kennedy, CAIA president and CEO, the association called “superficial” the consultation process leading to the decision to close the farms on Discovery Islands.
“Industry was given a single short opportunity to speak with the Minister and local communities were not granted any meeting. Multi-year peer-reviewed federal science establishing a minimal impact of farms to wild salmon was sidelined. This decision does not bring people together to create a pathway towards real reconciliation,” the open letter stated.
In making its case to Trudeau, the CAIA letter cited several federal government reports that identify the great potential of aquaculture for Canada’s economic development.
“Aquaculture represents the future of reliable seafood production while reducing pressure on wild stocks in a growing world hungry for seafood. It is also the key for coastal job growth where there are few other jobs,” the open letter said.
Despite the setback, the CAIA stated it will continue to “hope and work for a reasonable path forward.”
Offering up a solution, it said: “Effective federal leadership will bring multiple interests together to develop a vision, strategy and plan for the sustainable growth of aquaculture across Canada. Your government can still do this, and realize the clear opportunity for Canada to be a global leader.”
Read the full open letter here.