January 9, 2021


Salmon producers in British Columbia, Canada, share concerns over phasing out of open net fish farms



Mayors and members of the aquaculture industry in British Columbia, Canada, signed an open letter to the country's Fisheries Minister, Bernadette Jordan, on not being informed of a planned phasing out of open net farming. 


During the 2019 election in Canada, the Liberal Party promised to end open net pen fish farming. Government officials have been in communication with local First Nations groups, who have opposed such production sites. However, British Columbia salmon farmers are expressing concerns about the potential impacts the move will have on the industry and how the federal government plans to implement the decision.


The letter to Jordan was signed by the BC Salmon Farmers Association and Vancouver Island mayors, and sought for clarity about how coastal communities, who are reliant on the province's aquaculture sector, will be assisted.


"You made this decision without even speaking to the industry nor locally elected officials who deeply understand BC's salmon farming communities and have a direct interest in your action," the letter said.


"Your shocking decision to order [certain] salmon farms closed directly puts at risk 1,500 jobs supported by those farms in the short term, while in the long-term, striking at a sustainable (COVID-19) recovery and at the economic viability of the entire CA$1.6 billion (US$1,258,632,000) salmon farming industry in BC."


Many salmon farms in British Columbia operate on wild salmon migration routes.


Environmentalists fear that farmed salmon pose a threat to the natural ecosystem if they escape from open-net pens. Outbreaks of sea lice and nitrogenous effluents from farm sites can also threaten native fish species and the surrounding environment.


 - The Fish Site