Minister wants B.C. to be model for aquaculture as it moves to containment

Industry Minister will be in B.C. soon to meet with First Nations affected by the open-net farm ban
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An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm in British Columbia on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward

Federal Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier says the country’s “strict rules” on banning open-net salmon farming are necessary, since the goal is to make British Columbia “a model” in global aquaculture.

During a separate funding announcement on salmon restoration in Vancouver, Lebouthillier noted that Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne would be in B.C. soon to meet with First Nations affected by the pending open-net farm ban.

When asked if federal money is coming to support the transition away from open-net farming, she said there’s work to be done to help communities and the aquaculture industry to propel them towards the future.

Lebouthillier announced the ban in Ottawa yesterday, saying aquaculture must move to land by 2029, giving communities and businesses five years from the original deadline to transition away from open-net farming.

A number of B.C. coastal First Nations have expressed anger at the announcement, saying five years isn’t enough for the industry to shift to containment salmon farming.

Ahousaht Nation Hereditary Chief Hasheukumiss says a five-year transition period is the same as shutting down the farms immediately, and the federal government has repeatedly ignored the concerns of Indigenous communities involved in aquaculture.

The Canadian Press