Salmon. (Barbara Jackson, Pixabay)
A new plan has been released with regards to fish farms in Indigenous territories in the Broughton Archipelago.
The ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, and Mamamlilikulla First Nations, Cermaq Canada, and Mowi Canada West have released a monitoring plan that gives First Nations a formal process for overseeing the fish farms operating in their territories.
Establishing the Indigenous Monitoring and Inspection Plan was one of the recommendations out of the government-to-government process undertaken by First Nations and the provincial government regarding the future of aquaculture in BC.
The IMIP is now being implemented and will be in place as fish farms are slowly phased out of the Broughton.
The IMIP puts in place a program for First Nations to oversee fish farms during the transition. They will document, understand, avoid, and mitigate potential harmful effects on wild Pacific salmon and other marine life and the ecosystems they rely on.
The inspection plan sets standards for fish health on fish farms, monitoring and testing for pathogens, diseases, and disease agents in hatchery smolts to make sure that smolts do not have any of those before being introduced or transferred into the open-net pens at fish farms, and monitoring fish while they’re in open-net pens.
The plan also sets standards for monitoring and testing farmers’ integrated sea lice management programs, promoting transparent public reporting of fish farms’ operating conditions and potential effects on the health of wild Pacific salmon, as well as integrated Indigenous knowledge and science to help inform management of fish farms.
The First Nations, Mowi Canada West and Cermaq Canada are now working together to develop and implement a community engagement program that will provide information to the First Nations communities about the fish farms in their territories, and how those interact with wild salmon and other aquatic resources they rely on.
The IMIP was agreed upon and completed on September 6th and has been in place since September 9th.