North Island- Powell River MP Rachel Blaney will meet federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan on Monday, Jan. 11 to discuss the implementation of a transition plan for aquaculture workers in her riding.
Blaney said that she will share the concerns of community members, workers and businesses from her riding with Minister Jordan and ask her to be an active participant in the move forward.
Decision to phase out fish farms
This will be the NDP MP’s first conversation with Jordan after the fisheries minister announced on Dec. 17 to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms by 2022.
The decision, according to Jordan, was based primarily on consultation with seven First Nations which have title in the Discovery Islands. Based on the 2012 recommendations of the Cohen Commission, a coalition of Indigenous groups and wild salmon advocates have been calling for fish farms to be removed from B.C. waters, arguing they threaten the health of wild salmon.
Transition plan needed
Numerous industry members from Vancouver Island expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision. Mayors, businesses and members of the aquaculture industry raised concerns about the impacts this decision would have on jobs and Vancouver Island’s economy.
NDP Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, Gord Johns, in response to the announcement, called for “a strong transition plan for the affected workers and impacted communities.”
Blaney also wrote to minister Jordan stressing the need for a plan to ensure that North Island workers and communities were supported in the wake of the Government’s decision.
“We’re still in the middle of the pandemic and this is another blow to many families in our region. The federal government needs to develop a plan to help our community get through these changes and thrive,” she said. “I will be telling the minister about the concerns and stories our communities, workers and businesses have shared with our office and looking for commitments for the support they need at this time.”
Prior to the feds making the decision, Blaney said that they were clear with the minister that when the decision was made they wanted to see a plan.
No transition plan rolled out
However, no transition plan has been rolled out yet by the federal government.
“There was no plan attached to that and I think that lack of having some sort of plan, or strategy, really has put our region into a tailspin,” said Blaney.
“While nobody knew what the decision was going to be, we are all living with the results. My goal is to continue to do what I can to reach out to provide opportunities for voices to be heard and to make sure that the minister knows that this is going to have a serious impact and we need to have a plan going forward.”
Blaney also said that this is the first step to ensure that the federal minister knows that the government will have to invest in the transition process and added, “we expect a significant amount of resources to come into this region, so that we can create solutions that make sense in our communities.”
Links of Interest:
- (Cortes Currents) articles about the Discovery Island fish farms
- (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
- (Gord Johns NDP) NDP MP Gord Johns issues statement on Discovery Islands Fish Farms
- (Cortes Currents) Closing down the Discovery Islands fish farms
- (Cortes Currents) Fish farms phased out in Discovery Islands: Chief Darren Blaney & Alexandra Morton respond
- (DFO) Government of Canada moves to phase out salmon farming licences in Discovery Islands following consultations with First Nations
- (Cortes Currents) A 60 day window to respond before a final decision is made
- (DFO) Summaries of the risk assessments for the Discovery Islands area
- (Cortes Currents) articles about or mentioning salmon farms
- (Cortes Currents) – sea lice
- (Cortes Currents) – Alexandra Morton
- (Cortes Currents)- BC Salmon Farmers Association
- (Cortes Currents) – Cermaq Canada
- (Cortes Currents) – Cohen Commission
- (Cortes Currents) – Ian Roberts
- (Cortes Currents) – Kristi Miller
- (Cortes Currents) – Stan Proboszcz
- (Newswire) Cohen Commission’s final report says Fraser River sockeye salmon face an uncertain future