They are set to expire June 20.
Activists are trying to convince the provincial government not to renew permits at 20 sites. But supporters of the farms are adamant that it would be a massive blow to industry and jobs in the area.
There are about 50 active fish farms in B.C. waters.
Talking to CBS news Jeremy Dunn, head of community relations for Marine Harvest Canada, a branch of the world’s largest aquaculture company, Marine Harvest, based in Norway, says the idea that the millions of Atlantic salmon now being reared in net pens in the ocean could be easily moved to large tanks on land is not realistic.
“There have been people working to try and perfect growing salmon to market size in tanks for 30 years, and no one’s been able to make a sustainable business out of it,” he says. “A lot people have lost a lot of money.” Approximately $1.5 billion in revenue and 6,600 jobs in the province are tied to the industry, he says.