Vancouver Island's net-pen salmon farms decommissioning underway

Published on
September 24, 2019

Authorities in British Columbia, Canada, in coordination with First Nations tribes and aquaculture companies are in the beginning steps of a four-year program to decommission marine-based salmon farming operations off the coast of Vancouver Island, according to a National Post report

Earlier this year, an agreement was reached between three First Nations tribes, two aquaculture companies, and the British Columbia provincial government to establish First Nations oversight of salmon farms in indigenous territories as the province moves away from open-net pens. 

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said at a B.C. legislature conference that five open-net pen sites had already been decommissioned. Five more will be decommissioned by 2022 and an additional seven could be decommissioned by 2024. 

Horgan also said that the health of the province’s wild salmon stocks is contingent on moving away from open-net pen farming and improving the environmental conditions. 

Namgis First Nation Chief Don Svanvik called the program to decommission the net-pen sites a “monumental step to protect wild salmon and recognize the interests, values and jurisdictional rights of Indigenous peoples.” 

Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele said that although the upcoming negotiations could hit “rough patches,” the success of the discussions would have a large impact on both wild salmon stocks and on the provincial economy. 

Cermaq currently operates more than two dozen salmon farms around Vancouver Island. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Reporting from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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