Coastal First Nations in B.C. are calling on the provincial and federal governments for collaboration in modernizing fish farming in B.C. waters.
To do this, the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship has created a plan for salmon aqua-culture that they say is responsible, realistic and achievable. They add it will drive five outcomes for its rural communities:
- Wild salmon revitalization
- Economic reconciliation
- An Indigenous-led blue economy
- Social and ecological well-being for their territories and communities
- Food security and affordability for their communities and all Canadians
They say the plan announced ensures that the future of salmon farming in the province is led by the Nations whose territories the farms operate in. The plan also integrates a vision for a new Indigenous Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences based in Campbell river.
With recent fish farm closures, the coalition says nearly 400 jobs have already been lost and small businesses have been impacted. Coalition spokesperson Dallas Smith says new technology in the farming industry will also help them achieve this goal.
“Our nations want to keep working with the industry to truly elevate the potential of our rich marine spaces,” said Smith.
“To do that, we need the government to also partner with us and sit together at the table to implement this plan for modern, sustainable, in-ocean salmon farming that provides a realistic solution for our Nations.”
The coalition adds they have sent its Indigenous-led Finfish Aquaculture Transition Framework to the DFO minister.
They are seeking immediate renewal of long-term salmon farm licencing of nine years, greater trust and transparency and the completion of social and economic impact studies to help the framework succeed.