Salmon farms on B.C.’s central coast have been a focus of protests in recent years. (Black Press files)

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

The B.C. government has announced a plan to shut down up to 17 net-pen salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, beginning in 2019 and completed by 2023.

The 17 Atlantic salmon aquaculture sites are operated by Marine Harvest and Cermaq Canada, in the region between Kingcome Inlet and Knight Inlet off the north end of Vancouver Island. The plan was announced Friday by Premier John Horgan, federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and representatives of Indigenous communities in the region.

The plan allows seven of the 17 sites to continue operations if the operators can reach agreement with the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, after scientific monitoring of the impact of parasite and disease transmission between farms and migrating salmon.

Three other salmon farms in the Broughton region are not affected by the agreement, which focuses on migration routes for wild salmon. The Broughton group represents about a third of B.C.’s salmon aquaculture, with other operations around Port Hardy, Tofino and the Sunshine Coast.

Salmon farming the Broughton region has been a target of protests for 30 years, since Norwegian-based companies began operating off B.C. Scientists have expressed different views about the impact of net-pen farms on wild salmon, including concentration of sea lice and viruses that occur naturally in the wild.

RELATED: B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

The priorities for the plan are opening the migration route of young salmon from their streams of origin to the ocean. The first stage, in 2019, is closure of Arrow, Passage, Potts Bay and Glacier Falls operated by Marine Harvest, and Cliff Bay operated by Cermaq.

Marine Harvest, the largest salmon farm operator in B.C., says it plans to apply for new licences to shift production to other sites in B.C., and seek out new sites where there is interest from Indigenous communities.

Both Marine Harvest and Cermaq expect to preserve most of the roughly 600 jobs in their Broughton-area operations.

“This plan will see capacity for First Nations monitoring and salmon restoration increased, and we believe this is long overdue,” said Dr. Diane Morrison, managing director of Marine Harvest Canada.

Wilkinson said the federal government’s latest announcement on new steps to salmon protection and enhancement includes research into closed containment aquaculture, both at sea and on land.

Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation said the agreement to close and move farms is not a result of a veto by Indigenous people, but nation-to-nation discussions.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureSalmon farming

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

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

Bag containing meat, sewing needles found by dog owner in Cordova Bay

Saanich police don’t believe it’s a trend

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Colwood Spring Clean-Up postponed, branch drop-off continues

Strict measures in place for branch drop-off

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read