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

Nelson’s police chief retiring

Chief Paul Burkart has given notice for the spring of 2021

Fresh local food for families goal of new West Kootenay EcoSociety program

Produce from three local organic farms will be delivered weekly to 54 low income families

LETTER: Park road only fit for a tank

From reader Sheila McCormack

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read