Published On: Thursday, 21 June 2018

Province's Tenure Announcement a Significant Policy Shift

Province's Tenure Announcement a Significant Policy Shift

CAMPBELL RIVER – B.C.’s provincial government appears to be making a significant policy shift on how it will manage Crown land tenures with today’s announcement regarding salmon farms. “We have just received this decision and are still reviewing it,” said BCSFA spokesperson Shawn Hall.

“The change in consultation requirements appears to be significant. We haven’t been involved in discussions about this change nor asked for any feedback on how it might impact our members, so need some time to consider it before commenting further.”

Hall noted B.C.’s $1.5 billion salmon farming industry supports 6,600 year-round, well-paid jobs in rural coastal communities and annually provides an average of 70 per cent of the salmon harvested in the province. About 20 per cent of the people working directly for salmon farm companies are First Nations.

“B.C. salmon farmers have a long history of respectfully engaging with First Nations and local communities, and value the strong relationships they have with many First Nations,” Hall says. “We would welcome a constructive dialogue with the Nations that have any concerns so we can find solutions that address those issues while supporting their people who work in the industry.”

Hall added: “We are encouraged to hear that the B.C. Government will support DFO’s important work assessing interactions between wild and farmed salmon and the work of the chief science advisor.”

Moving to month-to-month renewals when longer-term tenures expire allows consultation with local First Nations and stakeholders to continue. It is not unusual for any industry operating with Crown land tenures, and is allowed for under B.C.’s Land Act.

The same situation occurred last time these farms’ tenures were renewed five years ago. At that time, the tenures rolled over month-to-month for up to five years while consultation and engagement continued.