VANCOUVER – The federal government’s announcement today of several new initiatives toward a sustainable aquaculture industry in Canada has the potential to further reconciliation with Indigenous communities and help protect wild salmon and the overall health of our oceans.
“We’re encouraged by government’s commitment to comprehensively examine and regulate Canada’s aquaculture industry, including a focus on protecting the productive ecosystems and wild salmon populations we all depend on,” the David Suzuki Foundation’s regional science projects manager Bill Wareham said. “This is an opportunity for government to ensure its goals and obligations related to reconciliation with Indigenous groups align with sustainable aquaculture development.”
The newly announced initiatives include further research into land- and sea-based closed containment salmon farming technology, as well as the development of a single set of General Aquaculture Regulations.
“It’s promising that the federal government is ready to dig deeper into the science behind the ecosystem effects of aquaculture, particularly as it relates to the long-term recovery and survival of wild salmon,” Wareham said. “We look forward to participating in an open and transparent public process to develop a new national Aquaculture Act in Canada.”
Last week, the scientific advisory panel that assesses the status of Canada’s wildlife recommended listing Fraser River chinook salmon as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. A lack of chinook salmon has been linked to the plight of the 74 remaining southern resident orcas. The foundation is urging government to conduct more extensive research on the potential effects of aquaculture on the recovery of chinook salmon and enact regulations to limit risks to these wild fish.
“We’re particularly encouraged that government has committed to a comprehensive review of land-based closed containment aquaculture options,” Wareham said. “Given the breadth of issues currently having negative effects on the health of our oceans, Canada needs very detailed rules on if, where and how aquaculture operations are allowed.”
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