Measures to phase-out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands area
Aquaculture, British Columbia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, NE Nature and Environment, backgrounders, general public
Marine finfish aquaculture facilities in the Discovery Islands are located on the traditional territory of the Homalco, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwaikah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will be issuing 18 month licences for 19 existing aquaculture facilities in the Discovery Islands (DI) with the intention that this would be the last time licences would be issued.
To implement the approach, issuance of Section 56 Fishery (General) Regulations (FGR) Introductions and Transfers licences would cease moving forward. Farm operators have been informed that the intention is to no longer issue Section 56 FGR licences, and that the expectation is that the farms will not be licenced to operate after June 30 2022. Restricting the issuance of these licences for the 19 DI sites, would result in no further fish transferred in the DI farm sites. At this time, no changes to conditions of licence are contemplated.
Failure to harvest all cultivated fish by the end of the day on June 30, 2022 would constitute engaging in aquaculture without a licence, which is prohibited by the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations. The Department will work through an implementation plan with industry, to ensure an orderly approach to transition is managed beginning immediately.
Outline of the initiatives:
- Finfish Aquaculture licences will be issued to all 19 facilities in the Discovery Island with an expiration date of June 30th, 2022 to align with all other marine finfish licences in BC.
- The intention is that no further fish will be transferred into the DI area and allow for the farms to continue to be managed and regulated while they raise and harvest the fish that they currently have on site from now until June 30th, 2022.
- There are currently 19 sites in the Discovery Islands area with licences that expire on December 18, 2020.
- Sites are owned by Mowi Canada West, Cermaq Canada Ltd., Grieg Seafoods Ltd., and two smaller firms operate in the traditional territory of the Homalco, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwaikah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations.
- Ceasing the transfer of fish into the DI sites could result in instances where fish currently rearing in hatcheries or in smolt-entry sites would need to be accommodated at other farm sites or voluntarily culled by the operator.
- DFO’s Conditions of Licence (COL) for aquaculture requires strict and ongoing inspections of farmed fish. DFO will continue to regulate the industry including monitoring, audit, and compliance/inspection. We are extending an invitation to the First Nations to participate and monitor progress as the farms harvest out the remaining fish on site.
- This decision will allow sufficient time for DFO to consult with industry about an orderly approach to transition and have all farms in the Discovery Islands free of fish by June 30th, 2022.
- On September 28, 2020, the Government announced that it would begin consultations with the Holmalco, Klahoose, Komoks, Kwiakah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge) and Wei Wai Kum (Campbell River) First Nations about the aquaculture sites in the Discovery Islands. Since October, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has been focusing on consultations with the seven First Nations whose traditional territory is in the Discovery Islands on the licence renewal process. Consultations took place from October to December.