Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)

Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is adding its voice to a chorus of protest from communities and companies impacted by a federal decision to shut down salmon farming in B.C.’s Discovery Islands.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the umbrella organization called for the immediate development of a growth plan for B.C. salmon aquaculture to provide clarity and certainty for investors. CFA says a federal department other than Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) also needs to champion the economic growth of the sector.

“DFO’s mandate seems to preclude this,” the letter reads. “Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada should be a better home, but would need an expanded mandate.”

The 2012 Cohen Commission inquiry into the collapse of Fraser River sockeye recommended the removal of all salmon farms in the narrow waterways of the Discovery Islands by September 2020 if they exceeded minimal risk to wild stocks. DFO risk assessments on nine pathogens last year found the impacts were below that critical threshold, but public pressure resulted in three months of consultation with area First Nations and the eventual decision of Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out the 19 farms by June 2022.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island mayors say they weren’t consulted on B.C. fish farm phase out plan

During the transition farmers are prohibited from adding new fish to the pens.

The industry estimates the move jeopardizes 25 per cent of farmed salmon production and 1,500 jobs.

CFA accuses the government of contradicting it’s promise of making science-based decisions with transparency and thorough public consultation when it ignored its own scientists’ favourable risk assessments of salmon farming last year.

“Because the farms passed this high bar of performance, the process for renewing federal licences should have been fair and taken into account this performance, the science, and community impact,” the letter read. “Unfortunately it did not.

CFA’s disappointment follows a stream of letters from mayors and Conservative MPs angry that coastal communities and industry were not consulted equally as area First Nations.

On Jan. 18 B.C.’s three major salmon farm operators filed for separate judicial reviews of the decision with the Federal Court. They are, in part, hoping for a reversal of the conditions barring them from transferring a final generation of young salmon from land-based hatcheries to the ocean pens for rearing and harvest.

READ MORE: Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Right

Homalco First Nation Chief Darren Blaney said this week it was disappointing to see “unanimous support” coming from city halls to fish farms, cautioning a judical review would be a direct challenge to reconciliation and Aboriginal rights.

“If they (aquaculture industry) want to reinstate the farms they will have to consult with First Nations going all the way up to the end of the Fraser and every other person who gets impacted on the B.C. coast,” Blaney said

The Homalco and other nations are discussing the matter with the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN).



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaSalmon farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Ravi Jain, Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director, will present a Zoom lecture as part of the University of Victoria’s Orion fine art series on March 8. (Photo: University of Victoria).
Award-winning directors highlight coming University of Victoria lecture series

The March 8 and 18 Zoom events are part of the Orion fine arts lecture series

Oaklands Elementary’s Division 5 Grade 4/5 class posed with Leila Bui (middle), her dad Tuan Bui (crouching to her left) and mom Kairry Nguyen (right) after presenting the family with a cheque for $710 raised by the students during a necklace sale in December 2020. (Photos courtesy Kairry Nguyen)
Victoria students raise funds for girl seriously injured when struck by vehicle in crosswalk

Oaklands Elementary class contributes to purchase of all-terrain wheelchair for Leila Bui

Saanich council recently adopted a 131-step climate action plan expected to cost $2.5-million in the first year of implementation. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tensions high as Saanich considers reigniting local area plan review

Majority vote pushes discussion to fall strategic plan check-in

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read