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

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Ellie and Mike Hadley of Port Alberni will open Maehem Spirits distillery in a new building on Cherry Creek Road later in 2021. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
BUSINESS BEAT: Businesses are all about lifting spirits in the Alberni Valley

New distillery coming to Port Alberni, and more news from the business community

Wilma Walker is a longtime Alberni Valley volunteer with Community Policing. She is well known for her teaching career as well. (PHOTO COURTESY ORLANDO DELANO)
VALLEY SENIORS: Wilma Walker brings giving spirit to Port Alberni

Walker enjoys her volunteer time in the Alberni Valley

Cars depart from the Guru Nanak Sikh Society in Port Alberni during a rally on Feb. 21, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni Sikh community shows support for farmers in India

Car parade departed from the Guru Nanak Sikh Society

Isha Rai, age nine, raised more than $3,000 for Coldest Night of the Year in Port Alberni. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nine-year-old raises $3K for Coldest Night of the Year

Port Alberni’s Isha Rai was highest-earning participant in annual fundraiser

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. reports 559 new cases of COVID-19, one death

4,677 cases of the virus remain active in the province; 238 people are in hospital

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Quesnel RCMP confirmed they are investigating a residential break-in at a home on the Barkerville Highway. (File image)
Thieves make off with $300K in Cariboo miner’s retirement gold

Tim Klemen is offering a reward for the return of his gold

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 death count hits four

Second doses of Pfizer vaccine expected on March 8 as community count hits 230 since Dec. 31

Most Read