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

Cops for Cancer Tour de North goes ‘virtual’ in Williams Lake

Two Williams Lake RCMP constables didn’t let a change in plans put… Continue reading

VIDEO: Cow, calf moose hunt must be stopped: Dan and Vivian Simmons

‘Recovery of mountain caribou a top priorty’: ministry of forests spokesperson

Cariboo Fire Centre crew heading to Oregon to assist with firefighting efforts

20 firefighters, a division supervisor, task force leader and agency representative being deployed

‘They think I’m the bad guy’: Woman out for a run in Chilcotin gets surprised by RCMP

Leona Oler was out for a run on a rural road when the RCMP helicopter starting following her

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

Most Read