Delay in B.C. salmon farm transition plan welcomed by both sides

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, May 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang. JDT/

The federal government’s decision to delay its ruling on a planned transition away from open-net salmon farms from British Columbia coastal waters is being welcomed by opponents on both sides of the issue.

Representatives from B.C.’s salmon farming industry and Indigenous and conservation groups say they agree the move to delay gives federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray more time to make the right decision after much confusion.

Click to play video: 'Decision looming for open-net fish farming'
Decision looming for open-net fish farming

A Fisheries and Oceans Canada statement says requests from First Nations and others resulted in a plan to extend a consultation period until the end of this summer, with a transition decision coming at a later unannounced date.

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Murray announced last February the government would not renew licences for 15 open-net Atlantic salmon farms around B.C.’s Discovery Islands, while she was expected to complete consultations for 79 other open-net farms this month.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa to shut 15 salmon farms off B.C.’s coast to protect wild fish'
Ottawa to shut 15 salmon farms off B.C.’s coast to protect wild fish

Brian Kingzett, B.C. Salmon Farmers Association executive director, says the delay will give Murray more time to consider the impact of closing a lucrative industry that supports thousands of jobs.

While Bob Chamberlin, chairman of the First Nation Wild Salmon Alliance, and Wild Salmon Forever spokesman Tony Allard say the transition extension gives the government more time to build the case to support wild salmon.

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