Canada's NDP


April 13th, 2022

MP Barron calls for government to end open-net fish farms that continue to hurt marine life

NANAIMO — Today, NDP Critic for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lisa Marie Barron, wrote a letter to Minister Joyce Murray calling on her government to follow through on its promise to stop the use of open-net fish farms. Barron reiterated her call following an incident at the beginning of the month where a group of sea lions, including Steller Sea Lions, a species of concern, became trapped at Cermaq’s Rant Point fish farm. New Democrats are urging the minister to deploy the resources needed to safely remove these sea lions from this facility and implement the long-overdue plan to remove open-net fish farms from B.C. waters.

“British Columbians are worried about the effect these dangerous open-net fish farms have on marine life in the area,” said Barron. “Now more than ever, Canadians deserve to see a clear path from this government about how it will transition from open-net pen fish farms in our waters by 2025. A transition plan would help ensure coastal communities who are worried about the future of our marine ecosystems can have confidence that they will be protected.”

In 2019, the Liberal government made a clear commitment to transition away from open-net fish farms on B.C.’s coasts by 2025. Unfortunately, since that time the government has failed to provide any information about how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans intends to implement this transition. As recently as February, the minister appeared at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and confirmed that all threats to wild pacific salmon, including open-net fish farms, should be addressed.

“We have seen sea lions die in similar circumstances -- without urgent action people are worried that these sea lions will meet the same fate,” said Barron. “The government has already acknowledged that these open-net fish farms are harmful. We’re asking the minister to follow through with concrete action to ensure that marine life off the coast of B.C. is protected. British Columbians rightfully expect their federal government to implement their commitments to conservation while supporting First Nations and workers impacted by this change.”