OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2018 /CNW/ - Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source has increased significantly in the last decades. This demand is projected to further increase as the world's population continues to grow. Combined with unprecedented pressures on many global fish stocks in our oceans, it is clear the world needs aquaculture.
Canada's aquaculture industry generates thousands of good middle-class jobs, mostly in coastal, rural and Indigenous communities. The sector provides high quality Canadian products to markets around the world.
As Canada moves to seize the economic opportunity presented by the aquaculture sector, the Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, industry, indigenous partners, environmental groups and other stakeholders, must work together to ensure we have an economically viable and environmentally sustainable path forward.
Today, the Government of Canada is announcing that we are moving forward with a suite of initiatives that will ensure that our aquaculture sector is economically successful and environmentally sustainable. Key initiatives in our renewed approach include:
- A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology. This will enable us to determine gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts. The study will be conducted in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia;
- Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
- Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies. We will work with, provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the scientific community;
- Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. This will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.
These measures will change the way aquaculture is done in Canada – by establishing a more holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs and protecting our environment.
Earlier this year, our Government asked Canada's Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer to examine, by leading an expert panel, how we can strengthen aquaculture science and how it informs decision-making.
The initiatives announced today follow last week's meeting of the Canadian Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) in St. John's, Newfoundland, where Ministers agreed to the development of a federal Aquaculture Act that will enhance sector transparency, facilitate the adoption of best practices and provide greater consistency and certainty for industry.
The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments on aquaculture management as we help seek to grow the sector in an environmentally sustainable manner across the country.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can and will have confidence in the environmental sustainability of our aquaculture sector as we pursue the tremendous economic opportunity that this sector represents.
"The Government of Canada is committed to making aquaculture more effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable. Together, with Indigenous, environmental and industry partners, we will lead the way towards a more prosperous and sustainable aquaculture industry."
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"The development of aquaculture policies that include Indigenous, scientific and seafood producer perspectives are important steps to making sure the people working in our coastal communities have long-term opportunities in sustainable aquaculture production, and that our natural environment and wild species are not placed at risk. I support the collaborative approach that is being adopted and the recognition that alternative technologies have a role to play in the growth of sustainable aquaculture in British Columbia."
The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture of British Columbia
"Sustainable Development Technology Canada looks forward to working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia to deepen our understanding of new aquaculture production technologies, including sensor and data technologies, which will enhance the sustainable growth of the Canada's aquaculture industry."
Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada
- In line with supporting innovation, the Government of Canada helps businesses incorporate existing clean technologies into their day-to-day operations through the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program. The program provides fisheries and aquaculture industries up to $20 million for clean technology use over four years.
- In November 2018, the Government of Canada and the province of British Columbia announced work to develop the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. Canada will contribute over $100 million in federal funding over six years, and provincial funding will be announced in the coming months.
The Government of Canada is demonstrating leadership on aquaculture management to ensure fish farming in Canada is done in the most sustainable and environmentally progressive way.
Area-Based Aquaculture Management
Area-based management will enhance collaboration between federal, provincial and Indigenous partners through improved information sharing, collective planning and ongoing monitoring and management of aquaculture activities. Area-based management ensures that the planning, monitoring and ongoing management of aquaculture activities takes into consideration indigenous knowledge, and unique environmental, social and economic conditions.
The Government of Canada is targeting northern Vancouver Island as the general location to pilot this approach. Discussions are underway with the Province of British Columbia, Indigenous peoples and communities.
While some other jurisdictions have moved towards more comprehensive planning and assessment of potential aquaculture activities, the proposed area-based approach will ensure that Indigenous and community concerns are taken into account in the planning and approval of aquaculture facilities. This goal will be achieved by not only looking at the potential impacts of a specific site but also the wider ecosystem, such as bays and estuaries, where these facilities would be located in collaboration with Indigenous and provincial partners.
Framework for Aquaculture Risk Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been using the Sustainable Fisheries Framework to guide fisheries management decisions and how the precautionary approach is implemented for fisheries. Building upon our existing risk management framework on how we make fishery decisions while incorporating the precautionary approach, we are seeking to clearly outline and explain how we make decisions on aquaculture including how we use the precautionary approach specifically for aquaculture decision-making when there is scientific uncertainty.
This directly responds to recommendations from the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development, industry, and from Canadians who have asked for more transparency on how aquaculture decisions are made, the information that was used in making decisions, and how the precautionary approach was used. The framework for aquaculture risk management will outline a step-wise process to be followed, and includes a commitment to publishing decisions, polices and the scientific advice that was received in support of aquaculture decisions. We will be advancing this initiative in partnership with the public, environmental groups, Indigenous peoples and provincial governments.
State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology Study
This study will be led and funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia; and will be guided by an independent Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will include Indigenous partners, industry, environmental non-governmental groups and governments.
The study will review the global state of salmon production technology, including a full examination of the wide range of current and emerging alternative technologies for aquaculture. A key focus will be potential ways these technologies can reduce interactions between aquaculture and the environment, including any potential impacts on wild salmon. Potential areas of study include technologies around land-based and ocean-based closed-containment, as well as open-ocean or offshore aquaculture.
The study will also identify how Canada could support industry in putting these technologies in place in the future. We are targeting the end of the spring for the completion of the study, with the final report being released publically by summer 2019.
Over two thirds of Canada's farmed salmon production occurs in British Columbia. As such it was determined that the B.C. operating environment would provide the most relevant context for potential new technologies. However, it is expected the outcomes of the study could be relevant and apply to other areas of the country as well.
Federal Aquaculture Legislation
At the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers meeting in St. John's Newfoundland December 4-5, 2018, Ministers agreed to support the development of a new federal act that will provide enhanced certainty to businesses, improve sector transparency, while appropriately recognizing provincial and territorial jurisdiction. The new federal act would continue to ensure that Canada's aquaculture industry is a global leader in producing high-quality aquaculture products in an environmentally sustainable manner. As part of on-going efforts with provinces and territories, the department is also considering the development of national standards for aquaculture.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also moving forward in creating a single, comprehensive set of aquaculture regulations, called the General Aquaculture Regulations, which would bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.
This initiative is in line with a broader Government of Canada regulatory review announced in Budget 2018 and the Red Tape Reduction Initiative, which strive to consolidate regulations, make Canada's regulatory system more transparent, agile and responsible, and support innovation and growth.
Moving forward, we will work closely with our provincial and territorial partners, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, and industry to create an effective and responsible regulatory framework for aquaculture in Canada.
- Follow the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
- Follow the Canadian Coast Guard on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
- Subscribe to receive our news releases and more via RSS feeds. For more information or to subscribe, visit http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/rss-eng.htm.
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
For further information: Jocelyn Lubczuk, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 343-548-7863, [email protected]; Media Relations Fisheries and Oceans Canada 613-990-7537 [email protected]