Uncertain future for BC salmon farming.
In November, RIAS, an independent economics consulting firm that was sponsored by the trade organisation the BC Salmon Farmers Association, indicated that industry has the potential to stimulate CAD 44 billion in new economic output by 2050.
However, December’s news that Minister Bernadette Jordan is to phase out over the next 18 months will result in the loss of 19 sites owned by Mowi, Cermaq, Grieg Seafood, put a spanner in that plan. Groups are calling to “transition away from open net-pen fish farms in coastal waters by 2025”.
Vancouver Island Free Daily reports that RIAS now estimates the annual fallout from the site closures will be about CAD 21 million in lost tax revenue.
Jessica Leck, who manages a broodstock hatchery for Mowi Canada West, told the publication that “everyone in the aquaculture industry is uncertain of what the future holds.” She added that “in total, this decision could affect 1,600 jobs on the island”.
John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association added that “it could potentially be devastating”.
“In the absence of government fully explaining its reasons, you get uncertainty. Everyone wonders, ‘What’s next in our community?’ The demand and interest in ocean-grown salmon, from the waters of B.C., is tremendous, and it’s going to grow,” he said.