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

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Ashcroft RCMP are warning businesses to be aware of a suspect passing counterfeit $50 and $100 bills in the Ashcroft and Cache Creek area. (Photo credit: Stock image)
Counterfeit money being circulated in Ashcroft/Cache Creek area

Police are warning local businesses to be on the alert for counterfeit cash

The former Ashcroft Elementary School building, which closed as a school in 2015 and is now operated as the Ashcroft HUB, pictured during Skip’s Run, June 2017. The board of education of SD74 voted on March 2 to sell the property to the society for a ‘nominal fee’. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
School district votes to sell Ashcroft HUB for ‘nominal fee’ to HUB Society

Amendment to motion seeks to keep school district’s financial interests in property secure

Cache Creek council say that budget meetings have to take place before a public meeting about the fate of the pool — first promised in May 2019 — can be held. (Photo credit: Journal files)
No date set for public meeting to discuss fate of Cache Creek pool

Council says public meeting cannot take place until budget discussions have been held

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read