The B.C. government will not cancel provincial tenures for 20 coastal open-pen fish farms, instead giving the industry and its thousands of jobs a four-year reprieve while the province waits for Ottawa to take the lead on the issue.
The NDP government has been pressuring fish farms to switch to closed land-based facilities, where there’s no risk to wild salmon. But the industry has said it’s not financially feasible. The province intends to encourage more research on land-based fish farms during the four-year transition.
Read more here (Vancouver Sun original source)
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) applauded the announcement in the following press release.
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – June 20, 2018) The UBCIC applauds today’s announcement as an initial step on the pathway to preserve and safeguard the future of wild salmon consistent with the rights, cultural practices and economic livelihoods of many First Nations throughout BC.
Today’s announcement recognizes the significant role wild salmon play in the cultures, lives and economies of First Nations peoples throughout the province. The province has begun to demonstrate its commitment to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by recognizing the authority of our Indigenous decision-making processes and our rights to grant or withhold our free, prior and informed consent to projects which impact our title and rights.
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC, states “Open net-pen finfish aquaculture presents a very real threat to wild salmon, First Nations communities and to the economy of British Columbia. These new requirements, which necessitate industry-First Nations protocol agreements and which place the onus on salmon farmers to prove their operations present less than minimal risk to wild salmon populations, are years overdue. If wild salmon are to survive, this industry needs to move to on-land closed containment facilities.”
The UBCIC further supports the appointment of the new Wild Salmon Advisory Council, and awaits with great anticipation the Council’s final report and encourages the province to provide the necessary resources to ensure the report is enacted.
For many years the UBCIC has been mandated through resolutions to advocate for the removal of Atlantic salmon fish farms from our coast for the benefit of our wild salmon populations. In September of 2018, the UBCIC in partnership with the BCAFN will be hosting the 2018 Wild Salmon Summit to develop a First Nations designed province-wide strategy to safeguard this important species for future generations.
Media inquiries: Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, UBCIC
C: 778 988 9282