BC’s 79 farmed salmon licenses renewed for two years

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Canada’s Minister of Fisheries Joyce Murray on Wednesday announced she is renewing for two years the 79 farmed salmon licenses that are expiring on June 30.

“The decision follows two years of engagement with partners and stakeholders on these new measures. It will allow the industry to continue to operate within the current regulations while the transition plan is being collaboratively developed to define the future of the industry,” her department, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), said in a statement.

“These licences include stronger requirements for aquaculture facilities, including the implementation of standardized reporting requirements and sea lice management plans, as well as wild salmon monitoring, all of which will improve the management of the salmon aquaculture industry and help protect wild salmon stocks and their habitat.”

19 farms in the Discovery Islands
In response to the April 22, 2022 Federal Court decision to overturn the plan of the government to shut down 19 salmon farms in the Discovery Islands (an announcement made in December 2020), DFO said it will conduct consultations with First Nations communities and current licence holders in the Discovery Islands on the future of salmon aquaculture licences in this area. These consultations will inform a final decision expected in January 2023 after considering input from all affected parties. While this process is underway, DFO will not reissue licences for Atlantic Salmon facilities in this area.

Meanwhile, the transitioning of British Columbia’s farmed salmon industry from open-net pen salmon to other farming methods continues.

As to how that transition will look like, DFO said it will share “in the coming weeks” the draft framework for transitioning from open-net pen salmon aquaculture.

“To grow an industry that remains profitable and sustainable, that also measurably reduces or eliminates environmental impacts on wild fish, the transition must be progressively phased in and predictable,” the statement continued.

“The transition plan will rely on input from the Government of British Columbia, First Nations, industry, local governments, stakeholders, and British Columbians. Consultations will run until early 2023.”