Fisheries and Oceans Canada is taking the next step to transition from open-net pen aquaculture in British Columbia coastal waters. Consequently, to advance innovation and support the ecological sustainability of the aquaculture sector in the zone.
To clarify, Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard has released a discussion framework. It outlines a proposed vision to palliate the risk to wild salmon. Also, it will take into account social, cultural, and economic factors.
In addition, the Minister has launched the next round of stakeholder engagement. Therefore, the Province, First Nations, industry, conservation organizations, and British Columbians, will join forces and express their concerns and proposals.
Besides, there will be roundtables with Indigenous leaders, local governments, key stakeholders, and conservation organizations.
Moreover, bilateral meetings with First Nations and provincial governments; consultations with First Nations; the aquaculture industry, and key stakeholder leaders; and online public engagement.
These sessions will be based on the following principles: adopt alternative production methods that minimize or eliminate interactions between farmed and wild salmon and improve transparency.
Finally, it will seek advance innovation and attracting investment to support the adoption of alternative production technologies in British Columbia. The implementation of the open-net pen transition plan, expected to be finalized in Spring 2023.
Regarding this announcement, Joyce Murray, stated: "Wild Pacific salmon are at risk of disappearing forever if we don't act. That's why the Government of Canada is taking a wide range of actions to halt and reverse their declining population."
"As the world's appetite for high-quality fish and seafood continues to grow, we need to find better and innovative ways to farm fish. Also, protect wild Pacific salmon stocks. A well-developed transition plan is the first step to growing a viable and sustainable industry in British Columbia," she concluded.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association has confirmed they are "pleased" with the Government of Canada's proposed transition discussion framework that aligns with their "current operational values". "We are encouraged that the federal government will rely on reconciliation and peer-reviewed science as a foundation for planning," confirmed.
In line with this, the Association recalled the still ongoing COVID-19 ongoing and rising inflation impacts. "We look forward to the opportunity to participate in developing our sector to meet Canada's Blue Economy growth goals and the world's demand for healthy, delicious farm-raised seafood," advised.
Looking ahead, it published: "We will have more to contribute in the days and weeks ahead after reviewing the proposed framework in more detail."