Statement: Open-Net Pen Aquaculture Transition


On behalf of Michael Meneer, President & CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation

June 19, 2024

Today, the Government of Canada has made an important decision to end open-net pen aquaculture in B.C.’s coastal waters within the next five years, following through on a promise made by the Prime Minister in 2019.

This decision is a win for Pacific salmon and their future.

Our team at the Pacific Salmon Foundation has published high-impact, independent, peer-reviewed research with collaborators that clearly link open-net pen salmon farms in B.C. to risks for wild Pacific salmon.

Arriving at this decision, which puts the health and interests of wild salmon first, has been a long journey. For PSF, we began researching whether or not open-net pen salmon farms posed a risk to wild Pacific salmon in 2013. Over the course of more than a decade and 60-plus publications, our current evidence-based position became obvious. We believe that ending open-net pen salmon farming in B.C. is a critical decision to support the conservation of wild Pacific salmon.

Given the challenged state of many Pacific salmon species, we would have preferred a shorter timeline than the five-year license renewals announced today. Yet, we must acknowledge the need for a thoughtful and well-supported transition for First Nations and coastal communities impacted by this decision. The risks to salmon are clear, but we know this decision is complex and that resilient communities are just as important as resilient salmon.

We encourage the federal government to commit to the necessary support for First Nations and coastal communities, and to provide incentives to get open-net pen farms out of the ocean as soon as possible.

With more than half of all wild Pacific salmon in a state of decline, this decisive measure to remove open-net pen salmon farms in B.C. is a prudent step towards recovery and resilience of salmon.

We commend the federal government’s decision and the clear path to end this risk to Pacific salmon in B.C. Given the many risks facing Pacific salmon, removing one of the barriers to recovery that is directly under human control is a key step.

We all depend on salmon. On behalf of the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the hundreds of species and communities in B.C. that rely on salmon ecosystems, we thank the Government of Canada and the Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard for prioritizing the precautionary principle and the future of wild Pacific salmon.

Michael Meneer
President & CEO
Pacific Salmon Foundation



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