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

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Tim Schewe
DriveSmart: Police Powers

By Tim Schewe If you are stopped by the police, just what… Continue reading

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Drinkwater Elementary School dating to Feb. 25. (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Drinkwater Elementary

Possible exposures occurred on Thursday, Feb. 25

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Most Read