CAAR was informed last night by two Assistant Deputy Ministers that the Province of BC has decided to relinquish all control and management of marine fin-fish aquaculture to the Federal government.

Forwarded by Graham Girard of the Wild Salmon Circle,

Hi all,

A message from the CAAR team – feel free to circulate to other interested parties:


CAAR was informed last night by two Assistant Deputy Ministers that the Province of BC has decided to relinquish all control and management of marine fin-fish aquaculture to the Federal government. This is a firm and fixed decision – the Province is not interested in retaining elements of management on contract from the feds, or negotiating shared responsibility.


They will, by law, retain control over tenures under the Land Act. Foreshore lease applications are and will remain a provincial responsibility which will now be managed in cooperation with the Feds.


All other elements – licensing, aquaculture management plans, waste management regulation, fish health etc will fall to Minister Gail Shea and DFO.


Shellfish and freshwater aquaculture management will be retained by the province.


The transition period will depend on how quickly the feds can put together a new regulatory regime and assume management. Naturally, they’ll be working towards the Hinkson date of Feb, 2010 but they could request an extension. The province will continue to manage fin fish farms until the feds are ready to take over.


On the upside, the two levels of government will no longer be able to play ‘jurisdictional ping-pong’. There will be one clear line of authority and responsibility.


However, DFO actively promotes aquaculture and has a terrible track record of protecting wild salmon or managing wild fisheries. The Department currently does not have the capacity to manage aquaculture (no money, no staff) and it could take some time to get in place. Given the federal deficit situation, funding for effective management and enforcement could be inadequate. 


We could lose the ability to exercise key elements of the Fisheries Act through an exemption for the industry (eg: when bringing in new regulations on pulp mill pollution or municipal sewage pollution in the past, DFO has specifically exempted the industrial activity from the provisions of the Fisheries Act).


It will undoubtedly be challenging to make this issue a national one, either publicly or politically. While it has high prominence on both coasts, it is not on the radar in key provinces like Ontario and Quebec and given the state of the auto industry, the federal deficit, Afghanistan, etc it will be challenging to make it a political priority. Both the federal Liberals and Conservatives have maintained similar political agendas on aquaculture for years; ie subsidize, support and promote its growth.


Finally, given DFO’s support for aquaculture there is the potential for significant de-regulation as they assume regulatory control and ‘update’ management regimes and licensing requirements.


At any rate, we now have clarity on the direction governments are taking and can start to re-shape strategies and tactics to focus on working in cooperation with all allies in holding the federal political parties and DFO accountable and responsible for the devastation wrought by the open net cage industry.


PS: The province does not intend to make a formal announcement or issue a media release on this decision. They have informed DFO, provincial staff in the ministry, the industry and CAAR and are, we assume, speaking to First Nations. They expect the ‘word will get out’.


Will Soltau

Local Coordinator

Salmon Farming Campaign

Living Oceans Society

P.O. Box 320, 235 First Street

Sointula, B.C.

V0N 3E0

Phone: (250) 973-6580 ext.203

Fax:     (250) 973-6581

skype: william.soltau



Scott Rogers
Field Station Manager
Salmon Coast Field Station
Simoom Sound, BC
V0P 1S0

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