Statement from the Hon. Joyce Murray on a research-based transfer request from Yellow Island Aquaculture Ltd.
December 22, 2021
Ottawa, ON - The sustainable and responsible management of our ocean ecosystems is a priority for me as Minister, and our government is committed to protecting and regenerating wild salmon stocks. In December 2020, Minister Jordan announced the licences for open-net pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands would only be renewed until the summer of 2022. This has resulted in a reduction of more than 3.5 million farmed salmon in the Discovery Islands since December 2020, and I will ensure the decision to phase out these 19 open-net pen farms is carried on to completion.
Yellow Island Aquaculture recently submitted an application for a Fish Transfer Licence at their Discovery Islands site, a requirement before transferring any fish. The Yellow Island site supports a multi-year research program that has studied the effects of pre-biotics and probiotics on Chinook salmon since 2018. The information collected here will contribute to improved understanding of salmon immunity. The scientists conducting the study requested a transfer of 3,000 Chinook salmon smolts from their hatchery to their Discovery Islands facility for an additional two months, to ensure they have consistent, reliable data for this year of their study. After carefully reviewing their application, and given the time-limited nature of the request, I have granted the licence extension and transfer permit, in the interest of ocean science.
All requests to transfer fish to sites in the Discovery Islands are reviewed based on the individual merits of the application; all previous applications to transfer fish into the Discovery Islands have been denied. Reviews include input from First Nations and consideration of environmental, scientific and socio-economic factors. As new research and information becomes available, the Department will continue adapting its measures to protect and restore wild salmon populations.
Canada can be a global leader in sustainable aquaculture when done in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, industry, local communities and local governments. We remain committed to responsibly transitioning from open-net pen salmon farming in all coastal British Columbia waters and introducing Canada’s first-ever Aquaculture Act, which will respect jurisdictions, and provide more transparency and certainty within the industry.
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Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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