World News – CA – Fish farms in the Discovery Islands are slated to expire by July 2022

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Federal government announces it is phasing out fish farms along a major wild salmon migration route in British Columbia waters within the next 18 months.

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says 19 fish farms on the Discovery Islands near Campbell River, B. . C.. . licenses are issued that expire on 30. It will expire on June 30th, 2022 and has no plans to renew it.

« It was a very, very difficult decision that I didn’t make lightly. I realized that coastal communities will be affected, « Jordan said in an interview.

The government made the decision after hearing a « sweeping » message from seven local First Nations speaking out against the farms. The federal government is determined to work with industry on a « fair » transition to sustainable aquaculture, she said.

The licenses for the 19 farms expired on Friday. Nine of the farms are out of fish, and Jordan said she intends not to allow the remaining 10 to add additional fish to the stables.

All farms should be fish-free by the time the licenses expire, but existing fish on the site can complete their growth cycle and be harvested, Jordan said. Around 80 percent of the fish are expected to be harvested by April.

The B. . C.. . Salmon Farmers’ Association said in a statement that the federal decision puts salmon farming in B.. C.. . and endangered across Canada. “This comes at a bad time, during a pandemic, when local food supplies and good local jobs have never been more important. ”

Salmon farming in B. . C.. . corresponds to a macroeconomic output of USD 1. 6 billion and supports 6. 500 full-time jobs paying 30 per more than the province’s median income, the association said.

Environmentalists have long argued that the open net pen farms harbor parasites and diseases that can spread to already struggling wild salmon stocks and are not worth the risk.

Stan Proboszcz, Scientific Advisor to the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, described the Discovery Islands as a « migration bottleneck » for wild salmon.

« The area is made up of narrow canals that these farms are in, so the fish migrate very close to the farms and can transmit parasites and diseases to the wild fish and affect the population, » he said.

Proboszcz said juvenile salmon will begin migrating through the area in April and may be vulnerable to the farms that remain active. He also questioned why the window of opportunity for the shutdown is so long, adding that a new government could stop the plan if elections were called in the meantime.

« This has been taking a long time and I think it’s a time to celebrate with caution, » he said.

In 2012, the Cohen Decline of Fraser River Sockeye Commission recommended that fish farms in the Discovery Islands be phased out by September. 30, 2020.

That deadline has passed but Jordan says there are currently fish on the farms and the government wants the exit to be fair and reasonable.

« I don’t think anyone wants us to kill three million fish. We have food insecurity in this country, there are challenges in the whole process and we want to make sure we let them expire fairly and sensibly, ”said Jordan.

End of net breeding in B. . C.. . Waters until 2025 was a liberal election promise in the federal elections.

Government figures show that there are around 130 marine fish farms in B. C.. . and the vast majority breed Atlantic salmon. They are concentrated in the Campbell River, Port Hardy and Tofino areas around Vancouver Island.

Jordan said the process of phasing out the remaining farms by 2025 will differ from the measures for the Discovery Islands, which have been of concern since the Cohen report was released.

« This is a much bigger conversation, » she said, adding that Parliament Secretary Terry Beech will begin the consultations in January.

“We will work with stakeholders, industries and First Nations to find the best way forward. ”

The Discovery Islands are located in the traditional First Nations territory of Homalco, Klahoose, K’omoks, Kwaikah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum.

Homalco chief Darren Blaney said the news was a relief to members of the First Nation.

« It seems like so long ago our salmon dwindled and dwindled and our community got less and less fish every year. It was hard to take, « said Blaney of the Campbell River.

The Homalco, known as the « People of the Rapids, » have a history and culture linked to the salmon and the waters they run in, Blaney said.

Fish farms are one of several threats to salmon alongside climate change, warming water and habitat loss.

Members of the First Nation are working to replenish the local river systems through a stewardship program.

« The thing about salmon is that they are resilient. If we give them a chance and a little support, we will likely rebuild them. « . ”

Salmon, fish farming, Mowi, British Columbia, Discovery Isles, Canada, salmonid aquaculture

World News – CA – Fish farms on Discovery Isles to expire by July 2022

Ref: https://www.timescolonist.com

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