Government of Canada announces new aquaculture management regulations

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Canada geers up for new legislation to designed to keep it “safe and sustainable.” Over two thirds of Canada’s farmed salmon production occurs in British Columbia.

In a press release yesterday, the Canadian goverment said that they have moved towards the Federal Aquaculture Act to protect their CAD 5 billion industry and which employs over 25,000 people full-time.

“Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source has increased significantly in the last decades. This demand is projected to further increase as the world’s population continues to grow. Combined with unprecedented pressures on many global fish stocks in our oceans, it is clear the world needs aquaculture,” it said.

The move has been welcomed by salmon farmers, who see the new act as a way to support policy and regulations that will ultimately help and build a sustainable salmon sector.

The Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, industry, indigenous partners, environmental groups and other stakeholders said that it “must work together to ensure we have an economically viable and environmentally sustainable path forward.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Authorities said that new initiatives on salmon aquaculture technology and clean health would ensure that their aquaculture sector is “economically successful and environmentally sustainable”. Key initiatives in the renewed approach include:

  • A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology.
  • Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon.
  • Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies.
  • A Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program which provides fisheries and aquaculture industries up to CAD 20 million for clean technology use over four years.
  • Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. They said that this will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

The press release said that this would establish a more “holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs and protecting our environment.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard said that: “The development of aquaculture policies that include Indigenous, scientific and seafood producer perspectives are important steps to making sure the people working in our coastal communities have long-term opportunities in sustainable aquaculture production, and that our natural environment and wild species are not placed at risk. I support the collaborative approach that is being adopted and the recognition that alternative technologies have a role to play in the growth of sustainable aquaculture in British Columbia.”

The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture of British Columbia added: “Sustainable Development Technology Canada looks forward to working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia to deepen our understanding of new aquaculture production technologies, including sensor and data technologies, which will enhance the sustainable growth of the Canada’s aquaculture industry.”