Joint Statement by Ministers Wilkinson and Duncan on the Report from the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science


December 13, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The Government of Canada is taking a new approach to building confidence in the Canadian aquaculture industry. We are committed to moving forward in a way that protects the environment, the oceans and the fish stocks and that will create thousands of jobs for middle class Canadians.

Earlier this year, the Government asked Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, to examine how we can strengthen aquaculture science and how it informs decision-making. Making decisions based on science and evidence is a top priority of the government. An expert panel was convened and today it tabled its final report. The findings were presented to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Science and Sport, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan today. Together, the Ministers issued the statement below:

“We would like to thank Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer and the members of the Independent Expert Panel for their important work. We look forward to reviewing the findings and welcome the recommendations on how to strengthen our aquaculture science and evidence based decision-making.

Making our oceans cleaner, safer and healthier is critical. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that fish and their habitat are protected for future generations, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Since Budget 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has hired more than 290 science professionals across the country to better protect and manage our oceans.

Over the past two years, we have also put in place new practices and procedures in response to the Cohen Commission and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s audit report on salmon farming. Earlier this fall, we announced that the Government of Canada has acted on all 75 recommendations of the Cohen Commission.

Further, we have already begun work on several of the recommendations noted in the Expert Panel Report. These include:

  • Hiring a departmental science advisor – the recruitment process is underway.
  • Developing a new, comprehensive suite of initiatives aimed at enhancing the environmental sustainability of Canada’s aquaculture sector. A key element of this work is the development of a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach which will guide our decision-making.
  • Measures to address jurisdictional challenges – CCFAM Minister’s agreed to scope a Federal Aquaculture Act. Such legislation would provide greater clarity to the industry as we move forward.

As we embark on the International Year of the Salmon in 2019, and focus attention to the importance of wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon, we continue to work with Indigenous partners and stakeholder to protect and recover these iconic species. On the West Coast, we recently announced the new British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, a $100 Million investment to support projects focused on Pacific salmon habitat protection and restoration. On the East Coast, we continue to invest in the science partnerships formed through the Atlantic Salmon Research Joint Venture that is bringing groups together to promote the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon.

Going forward, we will continue working with partners to maintain and rebuild wild salmon populations and their habitats and to ensure that decisions are made, based on robust, rigorous and inclusive science.”

Read the report here: Report of the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science

Quick Facts:

  • The Government of Canada is moving forward with a suite of initiatives that will ensure that our aquaculture sector is economically successful and environmentally sustainable. Key initiatives in our renewed approach include:
    • A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology. This will enable us to determine gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts. The study will be conducted in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia; 
    • Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
    • Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies. We will work with, provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the scientific community;
    • Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. This will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

Additional Background:


For more information:

Jocelyn Lubczuk 
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Nyree St-Denis 
Communications Advisor 
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport 

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Stay Connected

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: