Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: ENI, CPG

Government of Canada takes further action to enhance aquaculture sustainability in British Columbia

OTTAWA, June 4, 2019 /CNW/ - Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source is increasing significantly. Over half of seafood consumed world wide is produced by aquaculture operations. Ensuring that the aquaculture industry is successful in the future is imperative to reducing overfishing and ensuring wild fish stocks are sustainable. However, Canadians must be assured that aquaculture is environmentally sustainable.

Building on a number of initiatives announced over the past six months, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson today announced the release of two draft risk management documents aimed at enhancing the Department's science-based decision-making processes on aquaculture:

The government will seek public feedback on these two documents over a 60-day period, starting on June 4, which includes consultation with the Namgis First Nation to inform a final decision. While consultations are ongoing, DFO will utilize the interim Framework on the Transfer of Live Fish and the FARM to assess and manage on an interim basis potential risks to wild salmon from Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) in British Columbia.

As further steps in implementing a precautionary approach, DFO will also work with industry to implement two key additional measures:

In addition, the Department will establish three new Technical Working Groups, each focused on a key issue that has been identified for improvement and/or enhanced collaboration. The Working Groups will be inclusive and will be comprised of representatives of the Province of BC, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, the aquaculture industry and other key stakeholders and will provide advice to the Department. This advice will be directly relevant to any final decisions with regard to risk management policy. These groups will focus on:

We are committed to further enhancing the sustainability of our oceans and coastal communities and to addressing issues of concern. That is why, over the longer term, DFO will work with key federal departments and provincial governments to continue explore potential technology approaches, including closed containment, for supporting the development of the aquaculture industry. The recently announced Canada-BC Aquaculture Technology Study and the recent report of the Fraser Basin Council on closed containment will help to inform this work.

The path forward on further enhancing the sustainability of aquaculture operations requires engaging with Canadians across a broad range of interests. The Department will continue to work with Indigenous partners, provinces, territories, federal partners, environmental groups, industry, and members of the public to arrive at well informed, science based decisions that will ensure the protection of wild Pacific salmon stocks.

"Our government is committed to the protection and conservation of wild Pacific salmon. The new safeguards announced today will protect wild salmon and enhance environmental sustainability of aquaculture in British Columbia. I invite British Columbians to provide their input during consultations."

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region

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