Stop Net-Cage Expansion

Canada’s federal government strongly supports, promotes and favours the expansion of the open net-cage salmon aquaculture industry despite abundant scientific evidence that it is unsustainable. In fact, the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative (NASAPI) envisions massive expansion, more production, and more farms.

For the past decade, the work of CAAR and others to expose the negative impacts of net-cage salmon farming as well as the dedication of the public in opposing this destructive industry has succeeded in keeping expansion relatively at bay. However, the industry will continue to try and push this boundary, especially now that aquaculture jurisdiction rests in Ottawa.

Current Applications

Marine Harvest Canada has submitted a license amendment application to DFO asking for an increase in production at its Shelter Bay site and they have already made significant changes to the size of their farm at nearby Marsh Bay. Both sites are located on the mainland shore across from Northeastern Vancouver Island. They are applying to transfer licensed production from sites that have not been operational for many years in this area. If these amendments are approved, these sites could see production increases by as much as 35%.

These two farms lie directly in the path of out-migrating Cultus Lake sockeye salmon – a stock of Fraser River sockeye that has been recommended for emergency listing as an endangered population by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). CAAR is strongly opposed to these transfers and increases in production.

For more information read our media release and backgrounder on this tenure application.

Mainstream Canada (a division of EWOS/Cermaq) submitted an application in April 2011 to the provincial government for a salmon farming tenure located located in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The site, on the east side of Meares Island in Fortune Channel near Plover Point would consist of twelve 30×30 metre cages producing 3,300 metric tonnes of farmed salmon. The public comment period for this application ended on August 12, 2011 however CAAR will be tracking the progress and any further opportunities for action.

Take Action!

Join us in calling on the provincial government to place a moratorium on the issuance of tenures for net-cage salmon farms once and for all. Send an email to B.C.’s Premier Christy Clark telling her to put a moratorium on any new open net-cage fish farms and to transition the industry to closed containment. Any expansion of salmon farming in B.C. must be in closed containment systems.

You can also sign our petition calling on the provincial government to deny Mainstream Canada’s tenure application for a new net-cage salmon farm and to place a permanent moratorium on net-cage tenures in B.C. The petition is directed at Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the department responsible for approving the tenure application. Also, write to or call your MLA to let them know you oppose this application – find your MLA here.

Tenures & Licences

On December 18, 2010 as a result of Judge Hinkson’s decision in the B.C. Supreme Court, DFO assumed the management of aquaculture in B.C., formerly regulated by the provincial government. Licensing, management plans, waste management and fish health regulations for all aquaculture species other than marine plants now fall to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. However by law, the Province retains control over tenures under the Land Act.

Therefore, the first step for a company to set up a new salmon farming operation is to apply to the B.C. government for a tenure. If approved, the company would then apply to the Federal Government for an aquaculture license to be issued under the new Pacific Aquaculture Regulations.

Maps Showing Proposed Production Increases
(courtesy of Living Oceans Society)

Broughton Map

Discovery Islands Map


Read a media release and backgrounder from November 19, 2008 on the industry’s plans to expand net-cage salmon production by almost double.