Mowi Canada West salmon farm in B.C. waters. Conservative MPs have backed an industry call for further discussions on the timeline for closing Discovery Island farms. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada)

Mowi Canada West salmon farm in B.C. waters. Conservative MPs have backed an industry call for further discussions on the timeline for closing Discovery Island farms. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada)

Conservative MPs back B.C. salmon farmers’ call for transparent discussions

Farm owners requested consultations, more time to leave Discovery Islands

Conservative MP’s are backing a B.C. salmon farmers’ request to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan for transparent consultations with stakeholders and First Nations over the timeline to remove operations from the Discovery Islands.

yesterday (Feb. 23) the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) released a report detailing 690 direct job losses and $390 million in lost economic activity as a result of the decision to close all 19 farms in the archipelago. The report also stated 10.7-million salmon eggs and young fish will be culled to meet the June 2022 deadline. The farmers are asking government to host a new round of discussions with all parties with aim of securing more time to allow the fish to grow out to harvestable size.

Citing the report’s findings that 845 indirect jobs are also at risk, Richard Bragdon, Conservative shadow minister for fisheries and oceans, and Mel Arnold, MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap, said in a joint statement it’s clear the minister’s decision will harm the local economy with ripple effects throughout the sector.

“Instead of seeking to minimize the impact of her decision, the Minister ignored local communities, mishandled First Nations consultations, and blindsided workers. These groups should have been at the negotiation table and helped provide a plan – an overdue step that Conservatives have called for,” they said.

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farmers request more time to leave Discovery Islands

“The fisheries sector, and the thousands of Canadians it employs, deserves transparency and accountability from their government.”

Layoffs and culling has already begun in the sector. Mowi Canada has released three employees with another 30 expected in the coming months. Yesterday the company also began a cull of 950,000 eggs and young salmon.

A spokesperson for minister Jordan’s office said while the culling of any fish is unfortunate, industry leaders had known for months or years prior that a final decision on the farms would be made by December 2020.

“The Cohen Commission recommended this over a decade ago, and the licenses in that area were only ever renewed on a yearly basis for that reason,” she said.

Directed by the Cohen recommendations, DFO conducted risk assessments of the Discovery Islands farms last year, but found the impacts to wild salmon were below critical thresholds. However public pressure resulted in three months of consultation with area First Nations and Jordan’s subsequent decision. Fish farm owners, area mayors and B.C. Premier John Horgan have all stated they were not part of those discussions.

“In 2021, Canadians expect First Nations to have a say in what economic activity occurs on their territory. These pens were not the right fit for the area,” Jordan’s spokesperson said.

READ MORE: Young B.C. professionals call on Trudeau for salmon-farm supports



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hamels Fabrics & Quilting is set to open on April 6 in Sooke. The shop is located at 2044 Otter Point Road. (Mark Martins/Pixabay)
Fabric and quilting store opens doors in Sooke

Shop is filled with all kinds of ‘bright, bold and cheery’ designs

Eli, left, Brent, Lindsay and Ava Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilson)
West Shore families share experience in raising a child with autism

Two families reveal some parallels, but circumstances are different for everyone

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

New hours went into effect at Saanich Parks and Public Works Yard for spring and summer seasons on April 6. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Spring, summer hours in effect at Saanich Public Works Yard

Residents reminded to practise social distancing, prepare to unload without staff help

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Most Read