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Goldsmith-Jones: Regional approach to aquaculture needed

Goldsmith-Jones: Regional approach to aquaculture needed

Last month I provided highlights regarding important amendments to the Fisheries Act. On March 29, I spoke in the House of Commons about these amendments and also about the need for a National Aquaculture Act to facilitate a regional approach to aquaculture, including transitioning away from open net pen fish farms on the west coast. Here are excerpts from my remarks:

“I am here to represent the view that it is time to transition British Columbia’s open net pen salmon aquaculture industry to closed containment. Momentum is gathering globally and close to home to develop a profitable, productive aquaculture system and sector through closed containment.

“In Washington State, a bill has just passed through the Senate to phase out open net salmon aquaculture by 2025. I spoke to Senator Kevin Ranker who introduced the bill and he said he has never seen anything like the support that came together from all 29 treaty tribes in the state, commercial fishers, and recreational fishers. Like ours, Senator Ranker’s constituency encompasses in his words, the magical, majestic, Salish Sea.

“From a business perspective, the global open net-pen salmon aquaculture industry is operating in an increasingly unpredictable environment. The biological costs to control sea lice and viruses are rising and licences are very difficult if not impossible to secure. Public support for the status quo is attenuating and capital is being actively invested in closed containment facilities globally. Governments are paying attention.

“From an environmental perspective, Norway has put a moratorium on open net farms due to the sea lice problem. Add to that the recent complete net-pen collapse in Washington State and it is obvious that we simply cannot stand by and allow these threats to wild salmon and wild salmon habitat to continue.

“From a trade perspective, British Columbia and Canada should also not concede our strong role in the industry, our knowledge, and our brand to the first movers who know that the status quo will simply not allow for the growth of the sector and who are gaining market advantage over us to research, innovation, and investment.

“I would like to thank Canadian citizens for their ongoing commitment to volunteering, studying the science, advocating, and leading. The people of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country have certainly played a major role in the proposed fisheries act legislation and that work will continue no doubt. I am very grateful for their wisdom, spirit, and tenacity in getting us to today.”

Please visit: www.pgoldsmithjones.liberal.ca for more information. I welcome your thoughts – Email me: pam.goldsmith-jones@parl.gc.ca, connect with us on Facebook: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, or drop by our office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.

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