B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik speaks at an event at the B.C. legislature on phasing out salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago north of Vancouver Island, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik speaks at an event at the B.C. legislature on phasing out salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago north of Vancouver Island, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. wasn’t consulted on shutting more salmon farms, Horgan says

Industry pleads for time after federal order to close 19 sites

The second wave of salmon farm closures on the B.C. coast came without notice to the province and without the consultation that led to a 2018 agreement to phase out aquaculture operations in the Broughton Archipelago, Premier John Horgan says.

Aquaculture companies that have operated in the Discovery Islands east of Campbell River for decades were given abrupt notice by Ottawa in December that all 19 sites have to be gone by June 30, 2022. The industry estimates the closures will mean the loss of up to 1,500 jobs, mostly in remote coastal communities with few employment alternatives.

It’s the second group of ocean-based salmon farms to be targeted for closure, after the B.C. and federal government negotiated the closure of most or all of 17 sites in the Broughton region north of Vancouver Island.

“The federal government took action in Discovery without consulting us at all,” Horgan told Black Press Media Feb. 10. “They told us after the fact. We have asked the federal government what their plan is to mitigate the job loss, for example.”

The industry is still waiting for communication from federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, two months after ministry officials told them of the Discovery Islands decision, said John Paul Fraser, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. Industry representatives were called to a meeting and a clock was put on the table to keep track of the 15 minutes allowed for the decision to be conveyed to the industry.

“We got 15 minutes to close down 19 sites on a consultation that we had no participation in, with many nations who don’t even have territorial rights,” Fraser said Feb. 11.

RELATED: Broughton plan allows 7 salmon farms to seek consent

RELATED: Three companies challenge Discovery closure in court

Horgan said Indigenous reconciliation means careful consultation, and that was what he attempted to do in the Broughton region after forming a minority government in 2017. B.C. also passed legislation to implement the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People in all areas of provincial law, starting with an environmental assessment process that means projects have to create Indigenous impact and benefit agreements at the beginning of the permit application.

“The federal government didn’t do that,” Horgan says. “If the federal minister is saying that this is a start towards reconciliation, I would have to respectfully disagree. We need everybody together to find a way forward. That has been what we have done with respect to fish farming. That’s what we have done with respect to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsSalmon farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

.
Seven weeks with no new COVID-19 cases in Castlegar

The latest localized BCDCD COVID-19 numbers

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read