British Columbia local government voice calls for end to open-net salmon farms

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The Union of B.C. Municipalities wants to force the salmon farming industry to move to closed-pen systems.

A Canadian local government body called the The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) is aligning itself with First Nations government, local governments, conservation groups to plan a transition to closed-containment aquaculture.

The UBCM passed passed a resolution brought forward by the City of Victoria that urged the province to end open-net farming in British Colombia to be voted on by all municipalities in the Province. It intends to look at why some open-net fish farms were established in Indigenous territories without adequate consultation.

Talking to the publication Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Chief Robert Chamberlin, the vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said that the move “represents the evaporation of the social licence for the open-net fish farms to be operating in the oceans of British Columbia.”

However B.C. Salmon Farmers Association spokesman, Shawn Hall, warned that forcing such measures on the industry could mark the end of salmon farming altogether.

“A move to land-based salmon farming would essentially shut down the B.C. industry putting almost 7,000 British Columbians — many of them living on Vancouver Island north of Victoria — out of work,” Hall said. “It’s an important industry providing really important food.”