Aquaculture industry is under seige and needs our support

LETTERS

I was alarmed to learn recently that our federal government had unilaterally stopped all license renewals for 17 fish farms in the Discovery Islands, which will put hundreds of families in our community out of work.

See: Canada ‘stole Christmas’ says Vancouver Island’s aquaculture industry

Over the years I have visited numerous fish farms to document regulatory audits, and witnessed tightly-run operations and individuals who care deeply about their work and the environment they live in. I am proud to have this industry in our community and enjoy eating our healthy, homegrown BC farmed salmon.

I count many salmon farmers as friends. They coach my kids at soccer, track, and hockey and volunteer as auxiliary firefighters. They volunteer to BBQ farmed salmon burgers at charitable fundraising events – attracting big lines. They are family-oriented people, supporting charities and doing their part to make Campbell River such a great place to live.

To think that some of these families are now facing unemployment and will likely have to leave Campbell River due to a decision by our federal government makes me heartsick. This decision was made with no plan for these people, zero input from our mayor or industry and just before Christmas during a global pandemic to top it off.

In other parts of the country, when a GM car plant is closing, we see all levels of governments stepping in to work with industry and all stakeholders to help maintain jobs and find equitable solutions. Meanwhile, on the west coast, our federal government is putting families out of work and beginning to systematically dismantle this vibrant Campbell River essential resource.

Thank you to Mayor Adams for fighting so hard to stand up for our community. It is disappointing that he has little to no support from our own MP Rachel Blaney. Her lack of fight and near silence for the hundreds of affected Campbell River workers and businesses is shocking. Ottawa should be able to hear our MP’s outrage from here!

RELATED: Campbell River mayor takes MP to task on advocacy claims

If this momentum continues, I fear our community will lose a sustainable, prosperous industry and a great community partner. This industry provides thousands of jobs and spin-off benefits to all of us.

I would ask any Campbell River residents to think about how aquaculture and its potential closure would affect you. Do you know anyone that would become or has become unemployed? I urge you to reach out to them and become informed on what is happening to one of our city’s primary employers. This industry is under siege and really needs all of our support.

Lee Simmons

Campbell River

Campbell RiverFish Farms