BC salmon farmers may get five years to change

Fish farm, Canada

Salmon farmers in British Columbia are to be given up to five years to transition from net-pen operations, according to reports from Canada last night.

The news site Globe and Mail says the government intends to continue its policy of ending open net salmon farms in the province, but official sources are suggesting the companies will be given until 2029 to change their methods.

If correct, the news will come as a partial relief to salmon companies, three of whom are Norwegian owned. They are now resigned to being forced to switch to a new mode of production.

The Globe and Mail says that while the government decision was made a week ago, the exact details including plans for those who work at the sites, were not shared with it.

A government announcement is expected later this week.

Last month, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminding him of his commitment to develop a responsible plan for the BC industry.

The Alliance said: “We believe, as we believe that you do as well, that in the midst of an affordability crisis, ‘responsible’ means achieving greater domestic food affordability and security, jobs and the health of Canadian families and communities, including key First Nations partners who choose to have salmon farming in their traditional territories.”

It added: “British Columbians have clearly said their top issues of concern are access to affordable housing, affordable food and access to doctors – not salmon farming. Any further reduction of Canadian-grown salmon in a supply-constrained global salmon market will increase prices for Canadians for their favourite seafood choice and ensure that the supply is foreign product.”

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