Featured Image: Dan Patman / Flickr/Creative Commons
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a mandate to his cabinet calling them to “Work with the province of British Columbia and Indigenous communities to create a responsible plan to transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025 and begin work to introduce Canada’s first-ever Aquaculture Act”.
Canada is one of the planet’s only seafood producing nations without modern laws and regulations to govern a “responsible and sustainable aquaculture industry”. The country’s current aquaculture regulations come from a 150 year old “Fisheries Act” which doesn’t define aquaculture, or how to regulate it.
In his mandate, Trudeau called his government to: “Implement the recently modernized Fisheries Act, which restores lost protections, prioritizes rebuilding fish populations and incorporates modern safeguards so that fish and fish habitats are protected for future generations and Canada’s fisheries can continue to grow the economy and sustain coastal communities. The sustainability of our ocean resources remains paramount.”
Last Friday, Minister of Digital Government Joyce Murray shared a post on their social media about a meeting with the Pacific Salmon Foundation “moving forward to end open net pen aquaculture in Pacific coastal waters”.
The detriment of net-pen farmed salmon in British Columbian waters has been clearly shown in the last few years. Films like Artifishal showed the terrible impact these stationary farms have on wild salmon, and the abuse the farmed fish face during their short lives in captivity. In 2017, a net-pen farm collapsed in the Puget Sound, releasing thousands of sea lice-ridden, sick Atlantic Salmon into Pacific Waters.
This mandate is a positive move toward ending net-pen farming in Canada, and hopefully US regulators will take notice and take similar actions themselves to protect our precious wild Pacific fisheries!