Fish farms to remain for at least two months

Province poised for decision about fate of Broughton Archipelago facilities

The tenures for 20 fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago are due to expire, but aquaculture companies may keep operating for two months or more, even if the province gives them an eviction notice.

The presence of fish farms in B.C. waters, a divisive issue in the region, is coming to a head as the licenses of occupation lapse on Wednesday.

A highly anticipated announcement from the province about the fate of those facilities is expected this week.

The provincial government is legally required to give fish farmers 60 days notice before giving them the boot.

And it’s likely that fish farm companies will keep operating on a month-to-month basis as consultations continue between the province and First Nations, according to Shawn Hall, a spokesperson for the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

“It’s not an unusual situation that tenures would come up while consultation is still continuing,” he said.

“Typically, what happens in those situations is they just move to a month-to-month renewal as consultation continues.”

He said the government previously allowed aquaculture tenures to expire before renewing them all together. This led to the current batch of simultaneous expiries, he said, adding that similar arrangements are made in other industries when consultations cause deadlines to be missed.

“Thorough consultation with First Nations and communities is critically important,” Hall said. “The province has been engaged in government-to-government discussions with First Nations and we’re looking forward to coming to that table and finding constructive solutions.”

He stressed the number of jobs at stake, saying that 6,600 people are employed in salmon farming or in related jobs in B.C. and that 20 per cent of people working directly in aquaculture are Indigenous.

Jeremy Uppenborn, a government spokesperson, told the Mirror on Monday afternoon that the province would make an announcement “in the coming days.”

He also confirmed that tenure-holders have 60 days to remove infrastructure after receiving notice, but said that “tenure-holders can request additional time” and that “extensions can be provided if those requests are considered reasonable,” such as in instances when decommissioning a site would take longer.

Meanwhile, pressure continued to mount on the B.C. government to refuse the renewal, with the Living Oceans Foundation releasing a statement on behalf of tourism operators opposed to the salmon farms in coastal waters.

In an open letter to the provincial government, 75 tourism operators expressed “grave concern about the negative effects of open-net fish farming on wild stocks.”

The operators called on the province to “freeze salmon farm production levels province-wide, lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds the farms, work with the federal government to transition them to land-based operations and rebuild wild salmon stocks without delay.”

Jeremy Dunn, a spokesperson for Marine Harvest – a multinational salmon farming company with Canadian operations based in Campbell River – has said that “no one’s been able to make a sustainable business” out of land-based aquaculture, which involves raising salmon in tanks.

Just Posted

Storm dominates league following two weekend victories

Campbell River trounces Nanaimo Buccaneers and Oceanside Generals

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Most Read