Government, First Nations chart path for aquaculture in Broughton Archipelago

A ground-breaking government-to-government process has delivered recommendations that will protect and restore wild salmon stocks, allow an orderly transition plan for open-pen finfish for the Broughton Archipelago and create a more sustainable future for local communities and workers.

The recommendations come out of a process undertaken by the Province and the ‘Namgis First Nation, the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations and Mamalilikulla First Nation, following a letter of understanding (LOU) regarding the future of finfish aquaculture in the Broughton. The recommendations have been agreed to by the two fish farm operators in the Broughton: Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada.

The Province and the three First Nations endorse the recommendations, which:

  • create an orderly transition of 17 farms, operated by Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada, from the Broughton area between 2019 and 2023;
  • establish a farm-free migration corridor in the Broughton in the short term to help reduce harm to wild salmon;
  • develop a First Nations-led monitoring and inspection program to oversee those farms during the transition, which will include compliance requirements and corrective measures;
  • implement new technologies to address environmental risks including sea lice;
  • call for immediate action to enhance wild salmon habitat restoration and rehabilitation in the Broughton;
  • confirm a willingness to work together to put into place the agreements and protocols necessary to implement the recommendations, including continued collaboration with the federal government; and
  • secure economic development and employment opportunities by increasing support for First Nations implementation activities and industry transition opportunities outside the Broughton.

On a tenure-by-tenure basis, the recommendations provide for an orderly transition of 17 fish-farm sites between 2019 and 2023. Some farms will be immediately decommissioned; some will remain in operations for various terms (two to four years). By the end 2022, 10 farms will have ceased operations.  The remaining seven farms will cease operations, unless First Nations-industry agreements and valid Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) licences are in place by 2023.

“The process that was established was an incredible opportunity for all parties to work together to find a solution that could be accepted by all. I want to thank the ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla Nations, as well as Cermaq and Marine Harvest, for working in good faith. I’m very proud of what was accomplished,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.

Steering committee recommendations:

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