No place for 8.3 million fish
Fry and smolts that were being raised at Big Tree Creek, Dalrymple and Ocean Falls hatcheries were to supply Mowi’s Discovery Island fish farms. But now these fish will have to be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Dean Dobrinksky, Mowi human resources, safety and communications manager.
“Aquaculture industry works on a five year cycle and fish are at different stages in the cycle. We had salmon that was slated to go to the Discovery Island farms this spring, but as per the Dec. 17 federal decision operators are not allowed to add any new stocks in these sites,” Dobrinsky said.
In December, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms by 2022 after consultation with seven First Nations that hold title in the area. For years, several Indigenous groups and wild salmon advocates had been calling for the removal of fish farms from B.C.’s waters, arguing that they threaten the health of wild salmon.
18 months not long enough
Operators have been given an 18-month grace period to harvest close to three million salmon that are already in these pens.
While the decision impacted three major aquaculture companies based out of Campbell River – Mowi Canada West, Grieg Seafood BC, and Cermaq – Mowi took the biggest hit with 30 per cent of their overall production in B.C. concentrated in the Discovery Islands farms. A day before the minister’s announcement, fish from the hatcheries were scheduled to be transferred to the farms in Discovery Islands, said Dobrinksky.
The 18-month period is too short a notice to sort out operational logistics, according to Dobrinksy, who said that it disrupted the five year cycle under which the company operates.
“It’s going to be an awful experience for the farmers at the hatcheries who were taking care of the fish, feeding them and making sure that they are healthy,” said Dobrinsky, and added, “and now we’re going to be asking those same employees to kill them.”
Links of Interest
- (Cortes Currents) Seeking Judicial review for aquaculture on unceded territory
- (Cortes Currents repost) First Nation says judicial review challenges reconciliation and aboriginal rights
- (Campbell River Mirror) Salmon farm decision did not come out of the blue
- (Cortes Currents repost) MOWI and Cermaq seek an injunction in the Discovery Islands
- (SeaWestNews) BC salmon farmers seek judicial reviews over aquaculture ban
- (Cortes Currents) SRD protests DFO’s failure to consult
- (Cortes Currents) North Vancouver Island mayors support fish farms
- (Cortes Currents) An industry considers prospects for survival
- (Cortes Currents) Questioning the numbers – will 1,500 fish farm workers lose their jobs?
- (Cortes Currents) There will be a plan in place to address fisheries and job losses in the Discovery Islands
- (BC Salmon Farmers) Open letter to Minister Jordan: Your decision to close Discovery Island area salmon farms puts at risk 1,500 rural coastal jobs
- (Globe and Mail) Scientist at Department of Fisheries and Oceans says Ottawa is too beholden to fish farm industry
- (Cortes Currents) Closing down the Discovery Island salmon farms
- (DFO) Government of Canada moves to phase out salmon farming licences in Discovery Islands following consultations with First Nations