Vancouver – B.C.’s aquaculture industry is now in the hands of the federal government.
Gail Shea, the federal fisheries minister, and Ben Stewart, the provincial minister of agriculture, were in Vancouver earlier this month to sign a memorandum of understanding between the provincial and federal governments.
B.C.’s provincial government had responsibility for salmon farms and ocean aquaculture until a landmark B.C. Supreme Court ruling in February 2009 forced the transfer to the federal government. The official transfer date was Dec. 18, 2010.
The federal government is promising more regulations, transparency and oversight of the controversial salmon farming business.
The shift will see Ottawa in control of the cultivation of fish, enforcement of new Pacific aquaculture regulations and the conditions of licensing for fish farms.
“We welcome the new regulations and are glad to see the two levels of government working together to provide a stable operational environment for the BC aquaculture industry,” said Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).
The BCSFA had provided feedback into the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations during the public consultation period.
The BCSFA adds that salmon farmers hope the new regime will help to streamline the regulatory process, while addressing any questions from the public. The association also says that it’s important that the best policies be in place to protect the environment, stimulate local communities and give business security and clear guidelines into the future.