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.

Just Posted

Federal candidates talk most pressing issues in Revelstoke

Concerns include jobs, logging, climate change, affordable housing, Highway 1

Kootenay-Columbia riding candidates have Canada’s highest expense limit

Facebook data also shows who is buying ads on the social media website

Revelstoke roads and weather: avalanche control planned

Expect 20 min road closures west of Revelstoke on Oct. 21

Competition shakes up for the Okanagan Mixoff

The Okanagan Mixoff takes place Nov. 7 in Kelowna

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

South Okanagan dangerous offender guilty plea struck down

Trial delayed again because Ronald Teneycke failed to elect his choice of trial

Six bears destroyed in three days in West Kelowna

A West Kelowna business has been charged for leaving garbage around Lake Okanagan Resort

Police standoff ends peacefully in West Kelowna

A distraught man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

Most Read