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

Artists adding finishing touches to new downtown Nanaimo murals

Three outdoor art works commissioned by Hub City Walls festival to be completed by Saturday

Nanaimo RCMP seek witnesses after assault leaves man with broken facial bones

Incident occurred 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, near Superstore, say police

Scouting report promising for Nanaimo Clippers with training camp around the corner

BCHL scouts Island Division champs as league anticipates 2020-21 season

Two motorcycles crash on Nanaimo’s Terminal Avenue, one rider injured

Collision happened at 9 a.m. Thursday near Cypress Street intersection

Sport performance centre’s physically distanced fitness program fuels food bank

Prime Sport Performance and Therapy presents $3,000 to Loaves and Fishes

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Most Read