“Sloppiest, most careless, thoughtless, reckless, heartless”: BC salmon farmers react to Discovery Islands phase out

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Removal of 19 sites owned by Mowi, Cermaq, Grieg Seafood will have “significant implications,” says BC Salmon Farmers Association.

On the 18th of December, it was reported that Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced that it is phasing out existing salmon farming facilities in the key area of Discovery Islands by 2022.

In response to the decision, salmon farmers such as Grieg said that it would look to move that production to other farms. The area makes up 30 per cent of salmon production in B.C.

Coast Mountain News reports that the uncertainty of the situation is worrying the industry in the wider province. When elected in 2019, Trudeau initiated a plan to phase out sea-based salmon farming in its entirety into closed facilities in British Columbia within five years.

Grieg Seafood BC managing director Rocky Boschman told the publication that the industry is questioning if Canada, and specifically B.C., is a good place to continue to invest. It has a CAD 25 million hatchery expansion underway in Gold River and a CAD 200-million project is planned on North Vancouver Island. Boschman said that Grieg is even pondering if the decision to go forward is a good idea.

Diane Morrison. SCREENSHOT: Facebook

In a post on social media, Managing Director of Mowi Canada West Diane Morrison said to the company’s 600 employees: “Thank you and take heart, you stepped up this year, as essential workers, you changed policies and procedures to maintain food production in Canada”.

Directly to Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Morrison said: “On December 17th, with 15 minutes notice, eight days before Christmas, you made your announcement, you didn’t even have the courage of your conviction to tell us yourself”.

John Paul Fraser executive director of the trade association the BC Salmon Farmers’ association told Coast Mountain News that: “No effort has been made. It is the sloppiest, most careless, thoughtless, reckless, heartless approach to a decision, and follow-up to a decision that I have ever seen”.

In another social media post, one of many, workers such as Grieg Seafood employee Katie Maximick have said that hundreds of people have been trying to contact Minister Bernadette Jordan: “They’ve been telling their stories; asking you for help; asking you why you made this decision without proper consultation, and asking you what’s next? What are you going to do to help us?”