Friday, 15 February 2019

Making BC's Salmon Farms More Sustainable

The federal government is keen to help transition B.C. salmon farms to designs and technologies that address nagging environmental concerns, says Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. The key is to address the huge cost difference between net-pen farms and alternative systems by supporting the development of sustainable farms, he said.

“There may be levers we can pull to help close that gap in the same way that we did with solar and renewable energy over the past couple of decades,” the North Vancouver MP said in an interview.

A fast-tracked study of aquaculture technology — funded by the federal and provincial governments with the participation of First Nations and the aquaculture industry — will help identify how that support will be applied.

The study, to be delivered in May, will look at ways the industry around the world is able to minimize interaction between wild and farmed salmon, including land-based farms, ocean-based closed containment, and open-ocean and off-shore farms.

Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says that with better technology ‘there is an opportunity to significantly grow the industry and make Canada an even bigger player in aquaculture.
“Based on what we find, there will be opportunities for the government to participate in large-scale and medium-scale demonstrations of technology that looks promising — that’s exactly what Sustainable Development Technology Canada does,” said Wilkinson.

With better technology “there is an opportunity to significantly grow the industry and make Canada an even bigger player in aquaculture,” he said.

Canada’s economic strategy calls for aquaculture production to nearly double from 2016’s output of 200,000 tonnes to 382,000 tonnes by 2028. This province produces more than two-thirds of Canada’s farmed salmon and it is B.C.’s biggest value food export by a wide margin.

The study, and the creation of Canada’s first aquaculture act, signal a new dedication to “the precautionary principle,” said Wilkinson.

“We are moving toward area-based management which means moving to sites that are more environmentally suitable, where communities are supportive and — in the long run — looking at closed-containment technology and how we get to the point where those (designs) are economically viable,” said Wilkinson.

Read more here (source The Province)

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