BC’s salmon farmers have a New Year’s wish … accelerated regulatory streamlining as they enter year two under federal jurisdiction.
BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) Executive Director Mary Ellen Walling says delays in the review of license amendments has created challenges for BC companies.
“The single-year fishing licenses granted now create uncertainty for the businesses,” she added. “I hope to see more streamlining of the regulatory process in 2012.”
In February 2009, the BC Supreme Court ruled that aquaculture should be under federal regulatory control rather than the previous provincially-led regulatory program. Following an extension in early 2010, the official transfer date was Dec. 18, 2010.
While the regulated requirements for BC’s salmon farms stayed the same in many areas as they were under provincial control, there were alterations that needed to be worked through such as changes in staff contacts, reporting procedures and inspection processes.
“The transition last year was a big one. It required a lot of work from many people,” Walling says. “We look forward to seeing these regulations settle more into place as we continue to move forward.”
One of the biggest changes from a public perspective has been has been quarterly reporting of information about egg imports, sea lice, marine mammal interactions, incidental catch and escapes. Walling says BCSFA feels this additional reporting is a good step, though it has been challenging to put in context since the industry is the only BC food production sector providing this level of data publicly.
“Salmon farmers are always looking for ways to improve our business. That means making sure our operations are sustainable but also enabling our businesses to continue to be successful,” Walling says. “We hope to continue working with DFO to find clear paths that ensure all parties’ expectations are met.”