UBCIC Welcomes Announcement of Canada’s Fish Farm Transition Plan

News Release
June 20, 2024
UBCIC Welcomes Announcement of Canada’s Fish Farm Transition Plan
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/ Vancouver, B.C. – June 20, 2024) Yesterday, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced a five-year Fish Farm Transition Plan which will see all open net-pen fishing transition to closed containment by 2029.The UBCIC is supportive of the transition plan which is in line with UBCIC Chiefs Council Resolutions and recommendations including calling for First Nations monitoring and oversite to help attain the stated government objective to rebuild trust in DFO science and management decision making.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated, “We have been strongly advocating for an end to open-net pen fish farming for years and are grateful that the government of Canada has listened to our concerns including the sacred role of salmon to our people, and to the undeniable scientific evidence that fish farms have put our wild salmon at risk. All First Nations have territories that include critical waterways, and every First Nation in B.C. will be affected by long-term decisions regarding fish farms. This commitment to a five-year transition away from open net fish farming is a welcome step in protecting B.C. Wild Salmon.”
“UBCIC feels that this transition plan is a step in the right direction, especially after the 2023 challenge to the Discovery Island decision not to renew fish farm licenses. Our intervention in support of the Minister's decision in that case confirmed the enactment of the precautionary principle to protect wild Pacific salmon, especially where there is inconclusive science. UBCIC fully supported this decision in Resolution 2024-40 “Support for Precautionary Principle in Open-Net Pen Transition Planning Process” The commitment to this 5-year transition continues to build on the work that UBCIC has supported for years in our engagement with DFO including the UBCIC Transition Plan submission which called for sequential denial of fish farms,” stated Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President.
Chief Marilyn Slett, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer commented, “Salmon is integral to First Nations cultures, traditions, and economies across our territories. This announcement is a step towards the protection of our salmon stocks which have been steadily declining at an alarming rate. Fish farms have contributed to this decline through the introduction of pathogens including Piscine Reo-Virus (PRV), Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI), and hazardous levels of parasitic sea lice.”
By Resolution 2024-04, the UBCIC Chiefs Council fully supported the First Nations Wild
Salmon Alliance’s (FNWSA) Open Net Pen Transition plan based upon the Transition Plan that was successfully implemented from the Broughton Fish Farm Letter of Understanding with the Province of B.C. Further, by Resolution 2024-40, the UBCIC Chiefs Council fully supports the decision of the DFO Minister to use a precautionary principle and decline renewal of aquaculture licenses in the Discovery Islands and transition away from open-net pen fish farms and to enforce the precautionary principle used in Discovery Islands to the rest of the coast as the transition planning away from open net-pen salmon farming proceeds.
Media inquiries:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Chief Marilyn Slett, Secretary-Treasurer, 250-957-7721
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information, please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

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