CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – May 19, 2023 - Salmon farmers in BC have received the ‘What We Heard’ report from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The report summarizes feedback collected during phases 1 and 2 of DFO’s Discussion Framework on the Future of Salmon Aquaculture in BC. It captures some crucial points the salmon farming sector raised during consultations.
“The importance of the sector to rural coastal communities is a common theme in the report,” says Brian Kingzett, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Both First Nations and municipal governments expressed the devastation their communities will face if salmon farms are forced from the ocean.”
B.C Salmon Farmers provided extensive information and data to support the engagement process. Unfortunately, the report only reflects the opinions submitted. It does not assess the accuracy or validity of submissions or distinguish fact from fiction.
“DFO heard from some stakeholders that land-based salmon farming is the solution. We know this is simply not true. Vancouver Island and Coastal British Columbia does not have the land nor the green power to support growing salmon on land sustainably, and we are too far from the market for land-based methods to make good business sense,” notes Kingzett.
While DFO’s engagement to date has been about salmon farms and wild salmon, it is well known that climate change, habitat loss, and foreign fishing are the big ticket items to be addressed to protect Pacific salmon.
“The BC salmon farming sector remains committed to wild salmon stewardship, and we continue to innovate to reduce our environmental footprint while ensuring that we remain a negligible risk to wild salmon,” says Kingzett.
Much work is needed to ensure that the input gathered through the transition engagement is appropriately considered in developing a responsible transition plan. The ‘What We Heard’ report notes that participants urged the federal government to take a holistic approach, make clear and rational decisions based on sound science, and consider the implications of the transition plan on coastal communities, First Nations, and Canadians more broadly.
The Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship has repeatedly called on the Government of Canada to conduct a rigorous socio-economic assessment of the impacts that the transition of the salmon farming sector would have on their communities. BC Salmon Farmers stand behind the Nations in this request and call on the Government to immediately undertake the work.
The ‘What We Heard’ Report Phases 1 and 2 can be found here: READ HERE
ABOUT THE BC SALMON FARMERS ASSOCIATION
BC salmon farmers are committed to reconciliation and operate under multiple agreements with First Nations in whose territory we operate. These agreements are founded upon recognizing First Nations' right to exercise jurisdiction over the land, resources, and waters within their territories.
Farm-raised salmon is BC's highest-valued seafood product, the province's top agricultural export, and it generates over $1.2 billion for the provincial economy, creating thousands of jobs. The BC Salmon Farmers Association represents over 60 businesses and organizations throughout the value chain of finfish aquaculture in BC. Our members account for over 95% of the annual provincial harvest of farm-raised salmon in British Columbia.
For more information, visit bcsalmonfarmers.ca.