June 23rd, 2022
Liberal Open-Net Fish Farm in B.C. Announcement Underscores Years of Inaction and Mismanagement
NDP Critic for Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coastguard, Lisa Marie Barron, made the following Statement:
“Canadians know that the situation with wild pacific salmon is an emergency. They want to see real action from this Liberal government to ensure that we are protecting and restoring their populations. In 2019, people were excited to hear that this government would be taking action to phase out open-net pen fish farms in B.C.’s coastal waters by 2025 but were left disappointed when action was not taken.
Yesterday’s announcement highlights that almost three years later the important work of providing a clear transition plan for First Nations, workers, and coastal communities has not been done. Too many questions remain about how this government will meet its own timeline, while providing workers and communities with the support they need.
The decision to only renew open-net fish farms licenses for two more years and launch a broad consultation process later this year is an important step to implementing a transition away from open-net pen fish farms. However, this work should have taken place years ago.
These short timelines leave serious concerns that alternatives to open-net fish farms will not be implemented in British Columbia prior to 2025. Workers, First Nations, and communities that rely on this industry should not be the ones paying the price for this Liberal government’s lack of planning on a key promise.
The Minister’s announcement also committed to a new round of consultations around the Discovery Islands open-net pen fish farms. The closure of these farms along a vital migration route for salmon has been hampered by a lack of consultations and resulted in numerous legal challenges. Without a clear direction about how these consultations will address the government's previous failures, people are worried that there will be further delays and legal challenges.
New Democrats have called upon the federal government to implement a transition away from open-net fish farming to help protect critical wild salmon species for over a decade. We will continue to push this government to deliver a clear transition that supports coastal communities and protects our marine environments.”