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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Bandstra Transportation photo)
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Most Read