An application by fish farm operators in B.C.’s Discovery Islands to restock or extend their licenses has been denied by DFO.
On June 14, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced that Cermaq Canada Ltd.’s April application to restock its area fish farms, as well as extend current licences until Feb. 2023 was denied.
In December, the government announced it was not re-issuing licences for farms in the Discovery Islands, and that operations were to be phased out by June 2022. However, it was not explicitly clear whether transfers of new stocks into the farms prior to that date were allowed.
Cermaq made the application in April to transfer 1.5 million Atlantic salmon from Cecil Island near Port McNeill to Venture Point and Brent Island north of Quadra Island. They also applied to extend those licences until February 2023.
“A number of the First Nations consulted continue to strongly oppose salmon aquaculture in this area, and expressed those views during the consultations, notably for reasons related to the conservation and protection of wild salmon stocks and for social and cultural reasons,” reads the response from Rebecca Reid, regional director for DFO’s Pacific Region.
“In the Minister’s view, social acceptability for commercial finfish aquaculture activities in the Discovery Islands area is therefore lacking. This is a compelling social and cultural factor in the management of fisheries that the Minister considered to be of particular importance in assessing the applications. As such, in light of these concerns and of the lack of social acceptability, the Minster has denied the applications,” Reid continued.
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