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Net pen salmon farms to be phased out in BC

13 November 2020, at 10:25am

The Canadian government has reiterated its commitment to "transition" British Columbia’s salmon farming sector from open net pens to alternative production systems.

The Canadian government would like to see net pen farms, such as this, replaced by alternatives - including closed-containment systems and RAS
The Canadian government would like to see net pen farms, such as this, replaced by alternatives - including closed-containment systems and RAS

© Mowi

BC's salmon farming sector recently announced plans to invest $1.4 billion in the province, but the Canadian government remain committed to ensuring that existing net pen farms are phased out.

The four alternatives being considered are land-based RAS facilities, hybrid systems with land-based and marine sites, floating closed-containment systems and offshore farms.

Bernadette Jordan, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced that Terry Beech, MP will be engaging with First Nations, the aquaculture industry, and environmental stakeholders to discuss this important initiative. The results of these engagements will be presented to the Minister in an interim report this spring, informing her decisions on which systems would work the best.

"British Columbians and Canadians expect that as our government works to grow our ocean economy, we are doing it in a sustainable, environmentally-responsible way; meeting the demand for our farmed seafood products, while ensuring marine ecosystems are healthy and wild fish populations are protected. All voices will be heard during the development of this important initiative and I look forward to the outcomes of these engagements as we move forward on this transition together,” the minister said.

This next phase builds on work already completed, including the 2019 "State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies Study", funded by DFO in partnership with Sustainable Development and Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia. This study examined four alternatives to open-net pens for producing market-sized salmon.

"I am looking forward to working collaboratively with our partners, on what the future of aquaculture could look like in British Columbia and I will be ensuring that all voices are heard. We will soon be engaging interested parties to seek their views on what a responsible open-net transition could include," said Beech.