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Transitioning open-net pens in coastal BC waters 

The Government of Canada is looking to developing and deliver a real and concrete solution for transitioning open-net pens in coastal British Columbia waters.

As such, Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, has announced that Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour will be engaging with First Nations in B.C., the aquaculture industry, and environmental stakeholders on this important initiative. The results of these engagements will be presented to the Minister in an interim report this spring, informing her decisions on the way forward.

Close collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous communities, industry, and other stakeholders will be critical in ensuring the transition is workable, economically feasible, and takes into account social impacts.

This next phase builds on work already completed, including:

  • the 2019 “State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies Study”, funded by DFO in partnership with Sustainable Development and Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia. This study examined four alternatives to open-net pens for producing market-sized salmon;
  • work undertaken by the Indigenous and Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Aquaculture;
  • the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report ‘An Ocean of Opportunities: Aquaculture in Canada”, and;
  • the final 2018 Report from the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.

The use of an area-based management approach to aquaculture, which fosters collaboration will be explored, while improving information sharing, collective planning, ongoing management and decision-making. Consideration will also be given to the Framework for Aquaculture Risk Management (FARM), currently being finalized by DFO, which is grounded in the precautionary approach and guides the Department’s management of aquaculture.

Work on the transition will complement the department’s Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan, which is a coordinated action plan that builds on 13 years of work guided by the Wild Salmon Policy to protect and restore these incredible populations.

Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said: “British Columbians and Canadians expect that as our government works to grow our ocean economy, we are doing it in a sustainable, environmentally-responsible way; meeting the demand for our farmed seafood products, while ensuring marine ecosystems are healthy and wild fish populations are protected. All voices will be heard during the development of this important initiative and I look forward to the outcomes of these engagements as we move forward on this transition together.”

Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour, said: “I am looking forward to working collaboratively with our partners, on what the future of aquaculture could look like in British Columbia and I will be ensuring that all voices are heard. We will soon be engaging interested parties to seek their views on what a responsible open-net transition could include.”