Fish Farm Update – August 2018

1.BC government: Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food
On May 31, 2018, the legislative assembly tasked the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food with conducting consultations to examine the health, habitat and management of wild salmon, as well as the sustainability of the wild salmon industry in British Columbia.

BC Wild Salmon Advisory Council
On June 11, 2018, the government established the Wild Salmon Advisory Council. It is intended to bring experts together to help develop a wild salmon strategy to protect B.C. salmon. 14 members: co-chairs Doug Routley, MLA and Chief Marilyn Slett of the Heiltsuk First Nation. The Advisory Council will develop and write an options paper on a made-in-B.C. wild salmon strategy.

The Advisory Council will be supported by the Wild Salmon Secretariat, which includes staff from the Office of the Premier and contracted support from B.C. Coastal First Nations. The Wild Salmon Secretariat’s options paper will be presented to the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food.

2.BC government: Decision to renew fish farm licenses

June 22, 2018. The BC government announced that it will give 20 fish farms 4 years to establish i) that their operations meet federal DFO standards and don’t endanger wild salmon, and ii) consent from local First Nations to operate on their territories. Until 2022 the province will renew these licenses on a month-to-month basis. This will bring the timing of provincial licensing into sinc with federal DFO licenses.

Vancouver Sun, June 27 Re: B.C. government sets 2022 deadline for coastal fish farms.
“This decision is disastrous for wild salmon and communities all along their migration routes. Wild salmon are in trouble; First Nations, the Cohen Commission, stream keepers, hatcheries, commercial and sports fishers, tourism operators and municipalities could not be clearer about this. It appears that the provincial government is prepared to gamble with the very existence of wild salmon.
This is not the time to be cautious, and this was a cautious decision. The province could have challenged the industry bias of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and used its licensing power to force it to reconsider its responsibility for wild salmon. Rather, they appear to have simply set the stage for a four-year battle that’s weighted on the industry side.
The NDP also seems prepared to take Indigenous people through a long, expensive legal process rather than act quickly on their clear lack of consent.
Alice de Wolff, Comox Valley Council of Canadians, Courtenay” Continue reading