Norway-based Cermaq is preparing to deploy a new ocean-based closed containment salmon pen design in B.C. Fish are reared in a closed-containment pen shown in foreground, then transferred to conventional pens to finish development. (Cermaq Canada)

Liberal Party salmon farm pledge ‘destructive,’ industry group says

Justin Trudeau platform calls for ‘closed containment’ by 2025

B.C. and Canadian salmon farm industry groups are blasting a Liberal Party election promise to shift to “closed containment” as “reckless” and a threat to 7,000 jobs on the B.C. coast.

The Liberal pledge is for B.C. only, and doesn’t apply to steelhead, shellfish or other farmed species besides raising Atlantic salmon that is the backbone of the B.C. industry. It calls for the transition to be made by 2025, a timeline industry representatives say contradicts work that has been done.

The move is “destructive, careless and flies in the face of making decisions about aquaculture based on science and facts,” John Paul Fraser, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said Tuesday.

“At a time when leaders should be focusing on climate change and climate action, the Liberal Party is looking to shut down the seafood farming method with the lowest carbon footprint and suggesting a transition to a technology that depends on manufactured energy.”

Fraser added that the party policy “disrespects” the policy work done in the past year by Jonathan Wilkinson, the B.C. MP and minister for Fisheries and Oceans Canada who has worked with the industry on a transition plan. Fraser said the industry was specifically assured by Wilkinson there would be no arbitrary timeline imposed on new technology.

RELATED: B.C. reaches Indigenous inspection deal for salmon farms

RELATED: Cermaq to bring new closed containment salmon pens to B.C.

Tim Kennedy, CEO of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, representing fish farmers in Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, called it a “reckless policy, not grounded in science, and will threaten good middle-class jobs across Canada.”

Aquaculture is the top agricultural product by by value in B.C., and the national alliance says it supports 26,000 jobs across the country.

The pledge for B.C. is the last paragraph of a “healthy oceans” section of the Liberal platform, which promises that a re-elected Trudeau government will “move forward with more investments in marine science and fighting invasive species, and will work with coastal communities, Indigenous communities and others to better protect fish stocks and marine habitats from changes resulting for climate change.”

B.C. led discussions with Indigenous communities and salmon farm operators in the Broughton Archipelago region off the north end of Vancouver Island that will lead to up to 17 salmon farms closing in the region by 2023. The plan, announced in December 2018 by Wilkinson, Premier John Horgan and representatives of Cermaq Canada, Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest) and local Indigenous leaders, includes a new inspection regime that could see seven of the farms keep operating.

The Broughton region has been a target for international protests for many years, joined in recent years by the Sea Shepherd Society and local celebrity Pamela Anderson.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Ice coming to the Terrace Sportsplex in August

Second sheet planned for October, arena closed to the public for the time being

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read