Federal government announces new approach to managing aquaculture industry Canada

Canadian Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson fields questions at a news conference as the G7 environment, oceans and energy ministers meet in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The Canadian government is restructuring how it deals with the aquaculture industry in an attempt to bring more economic returns and environmental sustainability to the sector.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson laid out the new approach to the sector on Monday, including creating a single comprehensive set of regulations to clarify how aquaculture is run in Canada.

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The department is also ordering a study on alternative aquaculture technologies to inform development of the industry, to be carried out with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the province of British Columbia.

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Other aspects of the renewed approach include developing a risk management framework and moving towards area-based management plans to take regional environmental concerns into account.

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The details follow last week’s announcement of plans to develop a federal Aquaculture Act, as discussed at the Canadian Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers meeting in St. John’s.

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Federal environment commissioner Julie Gelfand issued a report earlier this year calling for better monitoring and more detailed scientific study of the industry’s effects on wild fish.

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