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

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

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

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

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

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(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 victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

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

Most Read