The Province of BC and the three First Nations who own the traditional territories in which the farms operate announced on Friday that 17 Atlantic salmon farms in BC’s Broughton Archipelago – a wild salmon migration route – will be shut down between 2019 and 2023.
They believe the establishment of a “farm-free migration corridor in the Broughton” will help reduce harm to wild salmon.
“We reject the assumption that removing salmon farms from coastal BC waters will save wild Pacific salmon. It’s a simplistic notion that is not based in scientific evidence and does a disservice to the identification of the complex issues facing wild salmon on the west coast. The fact is, no one really knows exactly why wild Pacific salmon populations are fluctuating,” Susan Farquharson, Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, said in a statement.
She added that the Cohen Commission has listed more than 20 activities affecting pacific salmon, including climate change (marine and fresh water), loss of habitat, predators, non-point sources of contaminants, forestry, and cumulative effects.
“Atlantic Canadian salmon farmers are leading the way in wild Atlantic salmon conservation activities, such as partnering in the Fundy Salmon Recovery Program with First Nations and all levels of government,” Farquharson said.
At the launch of the International Year of the Salmon in Vancouver in October, DFO Emeritus Scientist Dr Dick Beamish says filling in the knowledge gaps in the factors affecting wild salmon abundance is the aim of a $1.1-million research expedition in the Gulf of Alaska in 2019.
The expedition could result in new research that will make the discoveries scientists need to actively forecast salmon abundance, he said. “We still don’t know the mechanisms that allow us to accurately forecast salmon,” Beamish acknowledged.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s new federal minister responsible for regulating the aquaculture industry, acknowledged on Wednesday the complicated regulatory framework governing the industry.
“Aquaculture in Canada is a bit complex in terms of jurisdiction across the country,” he said at the conclusion of the two-day 2018 Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) meeting, which brought together ministers with statutory responsibilities over fisheries and aquaculture in federal, provincial and territorial levels.
The push for a federal Aquaculture Act by Canada’s seafood farmers aims to simplify the framework. The ministers expressed support for and commitment to the proposal. The Aquaculture Act, they said, “gives expression of the legitimacy of aquaculture as legitimate user of the marine environment.”
“We have directed our officials to develop federal legislation that will respect federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions and provide greater parity for industry. That federal legislation will ensure Canada’s aquaculture sector is a global leader in producing quality aquaculture product in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“In taking advantage of these opportunities, we are working together to solve the challenges ahead that will make Canada respected throughout the whole world when it comes to sustainable products from the ocean,” Wilkinson, CCFAM chairman, told the press.
Part of the Aquaculture Act would be a commitment of and a recognition by all parties “that we need to have greater commonality of standards across the country; that we need to be working towards ensuring that we are enhancing transparency in terms of how things are done; and providing greater certainty to the industry that investments in different parts of the country will be done on similar terms,” he said.
Wilkinson said however that this in no way means that the federal government will usurp the regulatory authority of provinces where the provincial government is the regulator. “There’s no intention on the part of the federal government to invade jurisdiction. There are mechanisms through which we can ensure that provincial jurisdiction where the provinces are the primary regulators will continue to apply. But greater consistency in a country like Canada is good for industry and is good for ensuring environmental sustainability. And it also allows us to convene a conversation that allows us to discuss things like best practices to ensure were doing everything that we can that to grow the industry in an environmentally sustainable way.”
The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) welcomed the support of the ministers to advance the legislative development process for an Aquaculture Act in Canada.
“The timely development and passage of a federal Aquaculture Act is the most important and overriding need for the sustainable and competitive growth of aquaculture in Canada,” explained Timothy Kennedy, CAIA President & CEO. “There is such incredible opportunity for this young and innovative sector in Canada. This important support from Ministers is very much appreciated and will provide a fresh look at seafood farming in Canada. Canada remains the world’s only major farmed seafood producing country without modern national legislation specifically designed to govern a responsible and sustainable aquaculture industry.”
While the ministers recognized seafood farmers are already doing global best practices, there appears to be an intent to make regulations stricter under an Aquaculture Act. Kennedy welcomed them, saying: “We are already amongst the most sustainable producers in the world, and are happy to compete to be even better.”
CAIA and its member companies stand ready to collaborate with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous and non-government partners to draft and modernize federal legislation, regulations and programs keeping Canada’s seafood farming business competitive, sustainable, innovative and growing, the organization said.
The Framework Agreement outlines Listuguj's fish interests, positions parties to explore innovative fish arrangements, and reaffirms the parties' commitment to advance Listuguj's fishing rights. The agreement will also help establish a process to help strengthen a nation-to-nation relationship between the Government of Canada and Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government.
"The Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government (LMG) recognizes that fishing is our inherent right that stems from our traditional way of life. Mi'gmaq law recognizes this inherent right,” Chief Darcy Gray of the Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government stated in a release. “As an elected government we will continue to exercise our jurisdiction over and responsibility for our fisheries as a community. Usgaqa'nminew aq ango'tesnug – our fisheries belong to us, and we will take care of it. Through this agreement, we hope that Canada can be a partner in our efforts and look forward to the work ahead."
The Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government is one of three Mi'gmaq communities of Quebec, all of which have a treaty right to hunt, fish, and gather for a "moderate livelihood," as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada's 1999 Marshall Decision.
The agreement represents an important act of reconciliation, based on mutual respect and recognition of the rights and interests of the Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government and all Canadians.
Moving forward in partnership with Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government to renew the relationship and advance #reconciliation with a Framework Agreement on fishing rights and interests. @LisMigGov https://t.co/YoLwjpRsZU pic.twitter.com/2Z2MAHkId7— Minister Carolyn Bennett (@CrownIndigenous) November 12, 2018
"Being part of this achievement with our partners of the Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government is an honour. I wish all the best to the parties in their discussions to move forward on a true and strong reconciliation,” Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said in the release.
Listuguj consists of approximately 4,100 registered members. The community is located on the north shore of the Restigouche River in Quebec, north of the interprovincial bridge linking Quebec and New Brunswick.
Listuguj's fish interests include: enhancing their fisheries resource capacity, strengthening their fish governance institutions, developing cooperative fisheries management regimes, and improving the economic and ecological sustainability of their fisheries.
Research leads to cost-effective plant-based rainbow trout dietINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After more than six years of research…
Cermaq looks to expand on Canadian East CoastCermaq Canada has announced its intention to begin investigating the…
Is the export market for you?An organization that promotes the export of US food and…
Cermaq sustainability report marks 10 yearsThis year marks Cermaq’s 10 year anniversary for its sustainability…
Aquaculture Canada 2019Sun May 05, 2019 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
RAStech 2019Mon May 13, 2019 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
Aqua NorTue Aug 20, 2019
Aquaculture Europe 2019Mon Oct 07, 2019
EXPO PESCA & ACUIPERUWed Nov 06, 2019
Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2019Tue Nov 19, 2019