The large number of regulators and requirements faced by the aquaculture industry in Canada is cumbersome for operators and confusing for Canadians who want assurances that environmentally sustainable practices are required by law and are enforced. The Government of Canada is committed to developing aquaculture in a sustainable manner. To do so, it is moving forward with a targeted, pragmatic regulatory agenda to address key barriers to industry growth while safeguarding the environment, and eliminate duplications.
- Regulatory Context in Canada
- Proposed Regulations - Before and After
- Expected Outcome of Proposed Regulations
- Next Steps
In Canada, federal and provincial governments share jurisdiction over aquaculture. Except for British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, provincial governments are the main aquaculture regulators in Canada with jurisdiction over aquaculture licensing, the use of public lands and a system of tenure management that allows access to Crown land for aquaculture sites.
Following a British Columbia Supreme Court decision, the Government of Canada assumed responsibility in December 2010 for most aspects of the aquaculture industry in the province, including licensing sites, production volumes, species to be produced, containment, fish health, sea lice levels and waste control. The Government of British Columbia continues to issue tenures for aquaculture operations in either marine or freshwater environments, license marine plant cultivation, and manage business aspects such as work place health and safety.
In Prince Edward Island, the Government of Canada administers aquaculture authorizations as a result of an agreement between both levels of governments. All other aquaculture activities are co-managed by both governments.
The Government of Canada manages aquaculture mainly through seven separate organizations, involving ten different Acts:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been working with its regulatory partners to develop the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations to ensure they build on existing provincial and federal regulatory regimes.
The proposed Regulations will clarify conditions under which aquaculture operators may treat their fish for disease and parasites as well as deposit organic matter under sections 35 and 36 of the Fisheries Act. As in the past, the Regulations would require that only regulated products may be used. The proposed Regulations will also impose greater public reporting from the industry as well as specific environmental monitoring and sampling requirements.
Reconciling or clarifying aquaculture-related regulations will improve coherence, simplicity and accountability. It will also increase operational certainty in the industry and investor confidence.
The Government of Canada is committed to continue improving Canada’s already strong regulatory system – one of the most rigorous in the world – to ensure that the aquaculture industry is safe, healthy and ensures the sustainable use of marine resources.
Canadians are invited to comment on the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations until October 22, 2014. To help you provide comments, you can consult the following complementary documents:
All comments received during the 60-day pre-publication period on the proposed regulations will be considered before policy directions are finalized and revisions, if needed, to the regulations are made. Once finalized, the Minister’s approval of the regulations will be sought. Once approved, the regulations will be registered by the Privy Council Office then published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
The next steps in the agenda will include a number of regulatory initiatives such as amendments to the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations. These will establish a licence fee schedule and provide for annual payment installments for multi-year aquaculture licences.