Dear Constituents of Mission—Matsqui— Fraser Canyon,
I write to you on a timely and controversial issue, both to share information and to solicit your feedback.
In December 2020, the Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced the federal government would not extend the licenses of 19 open-net pen Atlantic salmon aquaculture sites in the waters off BC’s Discovery Islands beyond June 2022.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) released a report in September 2020 showing minimal risk from aquaculture to wild salmon populations migrating through the Discovery Islands. However, after Indigenous consultations the decision was taken and companies managing these sites have been given 18 months to cease operations and remove all fish.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) expressed disappointment in the decision, arguing that it is not science-based and will be detrimental to the salmon aquaculture industry and the employment it provides. The BCSFA also raised concerns with the timing of the decision, pointing to the importance of food supply and good local jobs during a pandemic. Workers and their employers are said to have been blindsided by the decision as they were not consulted.
This development significantly impacts the aquaculture industry in British Columbia and across Canada.
As your Member of Parliament, I want to hear your thoughts on this decision and what it means for Mission—Matsqui— Fraser Canyon. Please take the time to complete the survey below.
Brad Vis, MP
I Want to Hear From You
What Are People Saying?
The BC Salmon Farmers Association said in a statement “This decision has significant implications and puts salmon farming in B.C. and across Canada at risk. This comes at a bad time, during a pandemic when local food supply and good local jobs have never been more important.”
They point to the nearly 6,500 full-time jobs the industry has created in the province. The BCSFA is worried that this announcement has put each of those jobs at risk.
Homalco First Nation Chief Darren Blaney was pleased with the decision, saying: “Especially in a year when the sockeye stocks out of the Fraser are at their lowest and they’ll now be migrating through our Discovery Islands and they’ll be swimming through there without any sea lice there.”
The First Nations Leadership Council said of the decision: “It is an important acknowledgement of the impacts open net pen fish farms have on wild salmon beyond their site.”
The mayors of Campbell River, Port Moody, Gold River and Port McNeill, along with the BCSFA issued an open letter to Minister Jordan, saying: "Your shocking decision to order Discovery Islands area salmon farms closed directly puts at risk 1,500 jobs supported by those farms in the short term, while in the long term striking at a sustainable COVID recovery industry and at the economic viability of the entire $1.6 billion salmon farming industry in BC.”