I am writing to voice my support for the salmon farming industry in British Columbia and the important role it plays in our economy and in responsibly providing sustainable food for a hungry world.
I respectfully request the federal government to continue to work with the British Columbia Government to support and sustainably grow BC’s aquaculture sector. On average, the industry provides 70 per cent of the salmon harvested in B.C. each year, under appropriately strict regulations and third-party certifications mandating responsible approaches to everything from wild fish health to First Nations engagement. The industry today generates $1.5 billion in economic activity and supports 6,600 jobs in B.C., many of them in remote coastal communities where commercial fishing and forestry jobs aren’t as plentiful as they once were. About 20 per cent of the people working in salmon farming in BC are of First Nations heritage.
In February of 2017 the Advisory Council on Economic Growth report ‘Unleashing the Growth Potential of Key Sectors’ identified Canadian aquaculture as a key sector with opportunity for economic growth. This ‘Barton Report’ recommends that Canada increase its global aquaculture market share to 0.6 percent (from 0.2 percent) and exports by almost US $2.6 billion.
Imagine how many more jobs could be created in these communities if the full potential of B.C.’s 25,000 kilometer coastline is unleashed – in a responsible manner with the health of wild fish and our environment at the fore.
To achieve this vision and increased level of prosperity we will need strong leadership from industry and government. MP’s like you need to be willing to support a vibrant, sustainable, well-regulated aquaculture sector.
I ask that regulators and the government do not take at face value the various activist campaigns against responsible finfish aquaculture. Please judge issues on the body of science and not on the rhetoric, and keep in mind the economic, social, and environmental import of this industry. Please be mindful that any further restrictions to the industry will have real impacts on real people’s jobs, their families, and their communities.
Thank you very much for keeping this in mind when the federal government considers how to manage our salmon farming industry for all Canadians.