April 19, 2021


Shutdown of salmon farms in Discovery Islands region, Canada, threatens jobs, according to report


Canada's BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) has released a report on April 14 highlighting hundreds of jobs are at risk in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, following a decision by the Canadian government to force the shutdown of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands region off Vancouver Island's east coast.


While Campbell River is Canada's salmon farming capital, Surrey is the hub of salmon farming in Metro Vancouver, home to numerous operations in salmon feed milling, fish processing, trucking, packaging and the provision of goods and services.


"The salmon farming industry in BC (British Columbia) is interconnected, with an extensive supply chain," said John Paul Fraser, executive director of the association in a press release. "Closing our farms in the Discovery Islands shuts down a quarter of our production in BC, which significantly reduces how much feed is needed, how many fish will be coming into the processing plants, packaging, the number of trucks needed to transport fish and shipping. Much of this work is done in Surrey."


The RIAS Inc. report analyses how the federal government's December 17 decision closing salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area puts jobs and economic development at risk in Surrey. This analysis is a companion to a larger report by RIAS Inc. released on February 23.


RIAS Inc. found that salmon farming companies have direct economic impact in Surrey from fish processing, feed milling, truck transportation, packaging and warehousing and distribution operations in that municipality. The BCSFA said direct impacts within Surrey attributed to salmon farming companies include $220 million in annual revenue, $46 million in GDP, 344 full-time jobs and $24 million in annual salaries.


Province-wide indirect and induced economic impact generated by Surrey's salmon farming hub include over $363 million in annual revenues, $122 million in GDP, 1,189 full-time jobs and $65 million in salaries


Discovery Islands farms produce a quarter of the farm-raised salmon in British Columbia.


"The report very likely underestimates the impact of salmon farming in Surrey," said the report's author, Doug Blair, an economist and president of RIAS Inc. "It doesn't account for the likelihood that the impact in Surrey will be outsized as the salmon farming industry faces a 24% decline in production, it will be forced to consolidate processing operations on Vancouver Island to maintain economies of scale. What is clear, however, is that a substantial number of jobs will be lost in Surrey as salmon farmers attempt to adapt to the impacts of the federal Liberal's Discovery Islands decision over the next year."


- Campbell River Mirror