Seventy-two percent of the 30 fish processing facilities audited in British Columbia are not compliant with permit conditions and the province says there is a need to strengthen requirements for fish processors in order to protect the marine environment.
The sector-wide audit was conducted after the online publication in November of a video by diver Tavish Campbell that shows fish blood and waste being pumped out of a salmon processing plant in Brown’s Bay near Campbell River.
Results of the audit, released on Wednesday, shows the majority of non-compliances with permit conditions were administrative, such as failing to post signage, but there were a few fish processors that exceeded volumes and the quality of fish processing effluent discharged, than is allowed under their permits.
“This audit clearly tells us more work needs to be done to ensure our coastal waterways are safe for all wild fish stocks,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The industry has been largely operating under an outdated permitting regime, going back several decades. We are taking immediate steps to ensure permits are updated and strengthened at fish processing facilities throughout BC.”
The ministry recommends modernizing existing permits to include additional environmental protection provisions, such as more rigorous discharge requirements and increased monitoring, and requiring fish processing facilities to update their update their standard operational procedures to reduce the volume of effluent discharged into the environment.