Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Campbell government’s failure to create green aquaculture jobs, abdication of authority leads to new opportunity for the Feds

September 11, 2009

VANCOUVER, SOINTULA, B.C. - Very quietly, with no announcement and no media release, the Government of British Columbia has just relinquished regulatory control of marine fin-fish aquaculture in B.C., handing over jurisdiction to the federal government. Living Oceans Society regards the Province’s abdication as an opportunity for significant change and progress on sustainable aquaculture. 

After the investment of  millions of taxpayer dollars in a host of hearings, processes and research, and years of failure to act on the multitude of ensuing recommendations to make salmon farming more sustainable, the Campbell government has simply given up on the opportunity to develop new technology and green jobs for B.C. 

“If our wild salmon are to survive, the salmon farming industry has to change from low tech open net cage system to high tech closed containment systems,” said Catherine Stewart of Living Oceans Society. “The federal government has already invested in fledgling closed containment ventures in B.C. Now that they will be managing the entire industry, we expect them to follow through with a serious and substantial commitment to protect wild stocks and foster an industry-wide transition to new technology.”

The recent announcement by AgriMarine Industries that their floating tank system, developed with assistance from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is opening a commercial-scale aquaculture system in China stands as testament to the Campbell government’s failure. 

Despite recommendations from the Special Legislative Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture and the multi-million dollar Pacific Salmon forum to invest in closed containment pilots, the Province did nothing. Faced with resolutions from local and regional governments, Chambers of Commerce, letters from retailers seeking more sustainable farmed salmon and support from the world’s largest salmon farming corporation, Marine Harvest, to invest in closed containment – the Province did nothing. Funding to contribute to a pilot program was raised by the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform and still – the Province did nothing.

“Open net-cage salmon farms, and the lice they breed, may well be a contributing factor in the collapse of this year’s Fraser sockeye run,” said Stewart. “Now that the federal government will have almost exclusive control over the salmon aquaculture industry it’s time for decisive action. China is capitalizing on Canada’s investment in greener technology – our own government must do the same.”



Kelly Roebuck, 
Sustainable Seafood Campaign Manager, Living Oceans Society, Phone: (604) 696-5044