B.C. commercial fishers argue Canada’s oceans can play an important role in a new and revitalized economy, but only if the first step is to restore their natural productivity. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. commercial fishers argue Canada’s oceans can play an important role in a new and revitalized economy, but only if the first step is to restore their natural productivity. (Black Press file photo)

Build a better blue economy through responsible aqauaculture

Commercial fishers argue for sector’s continued innovation

Dear Editor,

Canada’s oceans can play an important role in a new and revitalized economy, but the first step is unquestionably to restore their productivity. That’s why we are grateful to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan for taking decisive action in December to protect wild B.C. salmon by closing open net-pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. Taken together with previous and planned closures in the Broughton Archipelago, the removal of over 30 salmon farms from the migratory routes will substantially improve the outlook for the future of wild salmon and their ecosystems.

Imagine if coastal B.C. had a renewable source of nutritious food and jobs that could sustain and employ thousands, and that all we needed to do was ensure that the natural salt and fresh water environment was restored and maintained in pristine condition. A source of food that would swim out to sea and pasture on naturally available feed, then return right to our doorstep – oh wait, we did have that and we can again! It is quite possible to have both a viable aquaculture industry AND restore wild salmon runs with the associated benefits to both people and the wildlife that used to depend upon these runs.

The open net-pen salmon farming industry struggles for recognition in a new blue economy for good reason. The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, of which Canada is a charter member, identified the changes needed to provide a future for aquaculture when it issued its ‘Roadmap to a Sustainable Ocean Economy’ last month. Their report found a place for finfish aquaculture if it could “avoid adversely affecting surrounding ecosystems and use fish feed that is not made from wild caught fish.” Those are two goals that salmon aquaculture must achieve in order to be sustainable and viable.

Salmon farming spokespeople have suggested that investment in technology is available to protect wild salmon and their ecosystems and create more jobs. We encourage such new investment and propose it be directed at land-based, closed containment aquaculture that would provide even more jobs, that are better paid and safer, in coastal communities.

The Canadian roadmap to a blue economy should be the Aquaculture Act currently in development at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. That act must require a transition of open net-pens to closed containment. It should also provide incentives for the development of regenerative aquaculture, like oyster, clam, mussel and seaweed farms that improve the environment while producing food. The adoption and development of such sustainable and responsible aquaculture systems represents an opportunity to arrest and reverse the socioeconomic decline in the Indigenous and coastal communities that have not benefited from open net-pen salmon farming.

Aquaculture has a role in addressing the food requirements of a growing global population and can and must be conducted in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner that affords the benefits without the costs. Commercial, Indigenous and recreational fishers have joined with conservation and eco-tourism groups and elected officials representing the political spectrum to endorse Minister Jordan’s leadership in driving the transition to responsible aquaculture in British Columbia.

Dave Boyes and Dane Chauvel

Commercial Fishers

Fisheries and Oceans CanadafishingSalmon farming

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

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

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

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

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

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

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(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

Most Read