A controversial group of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands near Campbell River, B.C., will be phased out over the next 18 months over environmental concerns, officials said Thursday.
Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said all 19 of the open-net farms must be free of fish by June 30, 2022, and no new fish can be added. The 18-month period allows for salmon already in the pens to grow to harvestable size.
Many scientists and First Nations say farm salmon are infecting some wild salmon that migrate nearby with sea lice and other pathogens, contributing to the collapse of wild stocks in recent years.
Jordan said the decision to phase out the farms was arrived at in consultation with seven area First Nations: the Homalco, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwaikah, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum.
“Today’s decision was not easy. I am committed to working with all involved parties; the First Nations, industry and the Province of British Columbia over the next 18 months to ensure a fair and orderly transition process,” she said in a statement.
More to come