BC’s salmon farming industry says that $1.4 billion in new investment will boost province’s “post-pandemic economic recovery”

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An independent report sponsored by the trade organisation the BC Salmon Farmers Association indicates that industry has the potential to stimulate CAD 44 billion in new economic output by 2050.

In a press release, the BC Salmon Farmers Association writes that a new report titled Raising Opportunity: How Farm-Raised Salmon Can Lead BC’s Post-COVID Recovery, expects billions to be pumped into the Pacific Canada province.

Canada’s Blue Economy
The findings were published by RIAS Inc., an independent economics consulting firm. It concluded that if Ottawa and Victoria are able to provide a predicable policy approach, salmon farmers in BC “are poised to help lead Canada’s Blue Economy and recovery from COVID-19”.  This would be by directly “investing CAD 1.4 billion in innovation, new technology, and infrastructure through 2050, CAD 113 million by 2021, an additional CAD 684 million by 2030, and the remaining CAD 618 million through 2050”.

It added that investments, in total, could stimulate CAD 44 billion in cumulative economic output for the province over the next 30 years.

Shrink
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the Canadian economy. Depending on the magnitude of a potential second wave, the country is expecting a CAD 343.2 billion deficit with the economy expected to contract at least 6.8 per-cent.

Kurt Lang and Stephanie King, Co-founders of InWater Technologies based in Campbell River, B.C. PHOTO: BC Salmon Farmers Association

The provincial economy is also expected to shrink by 6.8 per-cent in BC, with many job losses coming from the youth. In 2020, BC is expecting the largest deficit in history at CAD 12.5 billion.

“The results of this report are very significant for the salmon farming community and for the province,” said John Paul Fraser, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, which sponsored the report. “It means more jobs and higher economic benefits in BC which are especially needed now, as our province deals with unprecedented economic hardships.”

“Salmon Capital of the World”
Representatives from Tla-o-qui-aht, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Ahousaht and Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations contributed to the press release.

James Walkus and the “MS Geemia Joye” PHOTO: Mowi

“The Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation gets royalties from aquaculture, which helps the community, and we’ve had community members employed at Mowi Canada West from day one. So, for those folks that want a steady job, their lives have improved as a result of aquaculture…The partnership has been tremendous. We have First Nations people from our reserve working on these boats. Plus, many of them are working at the plant. It is absolutely great for our people,” said James Walkus, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation. Walkus built two wellboats for Mowi, “Geemia Joye” and its sister ship “Amarissa Joye”.

City of Campbell River Mayor Andrew Adams echoed Walkus’s need for a resilient salmon-based economy in BC. “For Campbell River, a stable, sustainable fishery, and science-based growth in aquaculture, can continue to drive our economy and the significant advancements in our technology, manufacturing and processing sectors. Yes, it is critically important that we protect and preserve the wild stocks, but as the “Salmon Capital of the World” we have the opportunity to also be a centre for aquaculture. The world’s growing population cannot be sustained by commercial fishing and aquaculture can assist in meeting those demands by providing an alternative which will help in preserving our Commercial and Sport fisheries,” he said.

Quick Facts: RIAS Inc. Report
  • By 2021: CAD 113 million in new investment, 13,580 tonnes of additional salmon production, 430 new jobs
  • By 2030:  CAD 684 million in new investment, 65,000 tonnes of additional salmon production, 5,224 new jobs
  • By 2050: CAD 618 million in new investment, 54,000 tonnes of additional salmon production, 9,414 new jobs
  • By 2050: 50 new First Nations agreements are anticipated
  • Total additional economic output from 2020 to 2050: CAD 44 billion
  • Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) supported the report with an overview of Vancouver Island’s economy comparing key sectors such as aquaculture, forestry, tourism and education.