Canada's proposed Aquaculture Act coming in 2022
Government seeks industry feedback until December 2019
If all goes according to plan, Canada may have its first-ever aquaculture-specific legislation enacted by early 2022.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the federal regulator for Canada's aquaculture industry, continues to engage Canadians about the proposed framework for the proposed Aquaculture Act, allowing public feedback on the proposed legislation up to December 2019.
The bill is expected to be drafted by "mid- to late 2020" and receive royal assent as early as 2022 – but first, the government is asking industry and other stakeholders for inputs to help shape the legislation.
Aquaculture in Canada is federally governed under the Fisheris Act, which is legislation primarily intended for wild capture fisheries. In a statement on its website, the DFO said an aquaculture-specific act will, among other things, "create long-term conditions for the development of a thriving and competitive aquaculture sector that benefits the economic developments of rural, coastal and Indigenous communities."
According to Statistics Canada, the country generates an average of more than 178,000 tonnes of aquaculture products worth more than $1 billion a year, and a potential to double production by 2028. Across Canada, there are about 50 Indigenous communities directly involved in commercial aquaculture.
The proposed act will also use a "holistic and environmentally sustainable approach" to the continuous development of aquaculture in Canada, DFO said.
The government has been actively engaging stakeholders across Canada, including Indigenous groups, for feedback on the planned Aquaculture Act, which indicated overall support for the legislation to:
• increase legislative and regulatory coherence
• create a more effective framework for managing risks
• enable more efficient and effective regulations
• support innovation, growth and overall sector competitiveness
• reduce undue compliance costs
• support Indigenous involvement and rights in the aquaculture sector
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