Cermaq slams BC farms “surprising” decision

Cermaq Canada image

Cermaq Canada has joined two other large Norwegian salmon farmers in expressing dismay at the Canadian government’s decision to ban open net aquaculture in British Columbia.

The Ottawa administration said yesterday that the industry had five years in which to change their methods. So far the ruling does not apply to other provinces.

Cermaq last night called the government decision “new and surprising government policy” adding “the details of this new, previously uncommunicated policy put forward today will require an extensive review internally and with the First Nations with whom we have agreements.”

The cost of changing over is likely to run into millions of dollars. However, the company is expected to stay in Canada due to its commitment to the First Nations.

The Canadian government will release its draft transition plan on July 31st.

Cermaq, which is located on Vancouver Island, added: “It has been a challenging number of years for our employees, our coastal communities, and the First Nations with whom we work. The future of our company in BC will be shaped by a responsible, practical, and realistic Transition Plan.

“We remain committed to engaging in any policy or processes that works towards a collaborative and positive pathway forward.”

The BC Salmon Farmers Association, whose members will be directly affected, said the decision will hit those who depend on salmon farming in the region.

“Salmon farming in BC has been a vital sector contributing significantly to Canada’s economy and food security,” said Brian Kingzett, the association’s executive director.

“However, the political conditions on the licences increase the uncertainty for aquaculture in BC and Canada. This focus on unproven technology jeopardizes the sector’s ability to fulfil agreements with rights-holder First Nations and will cause further harm to our communities.”

He added: “It is crucial for the government to provide longer-term stability and certainty to enable the sector to repair the damage from the 40% decline of the sector and contribute to Canada’s economic growth by investing and implementing new technologies and innovations.”

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