Take fresh approach on aquaculture, new Canadian minister urged

Diane Lebouthillier, Canada’s new Fisheries Minister, has been urged to take a more pragmatic approach to salmon farming in British Columbia.

Lebouthillier took over from Joyce Murray three weeks ago after the latter was removed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a large scale cabinet reshuffle.

Murray, who has said she will not be standing for re-election, had planned to end open pen salmon farming in British Columbia, in the face of widespread opposition from the industry.

Now Timothy Kennedy, CEO and president of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance has issued a statement urging the new minister to think again on this policy.

Congratulating Lebouthillier on her appointment, he said: “Salmon farming in British Columbia has faced significant policy challenges in the last few years, resulting in a reduction in food production and jobs, and higher food prices for Canadians.

“Under this new Minister we are optimistic for a fresh, innovative and pragmatic approach to growing and leveraging the competitive advantage that Canada’s ocean resources offer.

He continued: “With evidence-based science and innovative policy, there is much potential for sustainable aquaculture production in Canada.

“A robust, innovative  aquaculture sector in Canada can produce more home-grown affordable, healthy, low-carbon and sustainable food, while contributing to conservation, and growing thousands of jobs to support healthy and dynamic rural, coastal and Indigenous communities that need and want to continue to participate and partner in this growing food sector.”

Kennedy said wild caught seafood cannot meet growing domestic and international demand. In response, aquaculture has grown substantially worldwide.

“Each year demand is expected to grow annually by 6.90% (CAGR 2023-2028). This has led to nations such as Norway, UK, Iceland, Chile and the United States significantly expanding their capacity.”

The new Minister, he suggested, can lead a new, modern policy and regulatory environment to get Canada back on track.

“Canada’s aquaculture sector adheres to a strict regulatory environment, while working to continuously innovate. Just like Canada rightly supports and promote our agricultural industries, the opportunity is here today to promote, strengthen and grow our aquaculture sector.”

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