BC government representatives attended a gathering in Alert Bay this week to recognize progress being made on transition plans for area salmon farms.
The gathering was hosted by three local First Nations, the ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, who reached an agreement with BC in 2018 to establish a shared decision-making process, giving them a greater say on aquaculture in their territories.
Nathan Cullen, BC’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, said the agreement was supported by the federal government and aquaculture industry. He said it has led to significant changes in salmon farming policy and supported protection and restoration of wild salmon stocks.
He was joined at the gathering by Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration, and Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island.
“”I’d like to acknowledge the past efforts and leadership of ‘Namgis Chief Councillor Don Svanvik, former Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Chief Councillor Robert Chamberlin, and former Mamalilikulla Chief Councillor Richard Sumner, as well as Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, former premier John Horgan, Doug Donaldson, former minister of forests, lands, resource operations and rural development, and Scott Fraser, former minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation,” he said. “They all helped get us to this point.”
The Broughton Aquaculture Transfer Initiative called for the closure of 17 farms in the Broughton Archipelago region by the end of 2023. So far, 10 have been removed. Most of the remaining sites are currently inactive.