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Recommendations on Sustainable Aquaculture by BCSFA

BRITISH COLUMBIA - The provincial government's Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture recently completed its work for 2006 and is expected to release its first report this week.

The first round of public hearings has been completed and that provided a public forum for many people -both involved in the industry and opposed to the industry, as well as some interested observers to make comments about aquaculture in British Columbia.

Here's what we hope the Committee will recognize and endorse in any future recommendations they make for sustainable aquaculture in British Columbia.

In other countries where salmon is farmed, BC is recognized as a world leader in the production of high quality, sustainably produced salmon. BC is also known - and respected - for having the toughest regulatory requirements for its aquaculture industry.

In 2005, the 75 farm sites surveyed by provincial auditors were in the 90 to 100 per cent range for all compliance components. This is a very tangible measure of our commitment to environmental sustainability.

For the third year in a row farmed salmon is the province's top seafood product generating a wholesale value of $371.1 million and accounting for 73 per cent of salmon produced in British Columbia.

We make a significant contribution to BC coastal communities, not just through job creation but investing in the communities in which we operate, helping people make a living in the communities where they grew up and supporting economic diversification in the coastal British Columbian economy. The most recent report from PriceWaterhouseCooper's states that our industry returns more than $700 million annually to the BC economy.

We think it's fair to say that the 4000 men and women who are pursuing careers in aquaculture and who spend their working days focused on sustainable aquaculture understand what is important to move forward. On behalf of those who work in our sustainable aquaculture sector- young people and older people; biologists and environmental engineers; farm technicians and fish processing workers; those in sales and in research; members of First Nations and residents of coastal communities; those committed to the environment and those passionate about the protection of wild salmon - here is what we recommend to help Committee members achieve their mandate . . . the further development of a sustainable aquaculture industry for our province.

  • Ensure that the provincial and federal government maintains and continues to enforce the current high standards and regulatory requirements to make certain that BC retains its position as the most stringent regulatory environment amongst salmon aquaculture countries.
  • Safeguard the continued viability of existing salmon farming and processing infrastructure to support coastal communities
  • Enable the sustained growth of the aquaculture sector by issuing timely approvals of new sites which meet regulatory requirements for environmental protection.
  • Initiate and fund a review and examination of all aspects of closed containment technologies and possible practical applications in a BC context, and to support collaborative research to continuously improve industry performance using regionally based research facilities where ever possible.
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