Three Indigenous communities in the salmon farming region north of Vancouver Island have reached an agreement on monitoring for contaminants with two companies operating the net-pen facilities.
The agreement, announced Thursday, establishes oversight of remaining salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago by the ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) September 19, 2019
The B.C. government imposed a plan in December 2018 to shut down 10 of the 17 Atlantic salmon farms in the region, due to their location in wild salmon migration routes along the B.C. coast. Five of the operations run by Cermaq Canada and Mowi Canada West have already been decommissioned, with 10 to be closed by 2023.
The remaining seven farms will cease operations unless agreements based on the results of monitoring can be reached and Fisheries and Oceans Canada licences are secured by 2023.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) December 14, 2018
The monitoring program includes testing for pathogens and disease agents in hatchery smolts and salmon being raised in open-net pens and testing of the farms’ integrated sea lice management. It also develops and reviews protocols for by-catch, farm lighting, disease outbreaks and mortality events.
The Indigenous communities are receiving $7 million from the provincial and federal governments to support establishment of the program. Cermaq and Mowi are also providing funding and in-kind support for the program.
Mamalilikulla Chief Richard Sumner said the agreement and supports will provide “trusted information” to the community about the interaction of salmon farms and marine life.
“This agreement is so important to the 600 people who work for Mowi and hundreds of contractors that support our salmon farming operations,” said Diane Morrison, managing director of Mowi Canada West.