In 2020, the Government of Canada announced that by the end of June 2022 all salmon farms in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands region will have to shut. This decision was made against the recommendations and advice from scientists, climate and aquaculture experts the federal government’s own Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
This decision means unemployment and financial distress for the thousands of people and families whose livelihoods depend on the sustainable salmon farms.
This decision means nearly $390 million in annual economic activity wiped-out.
This decision will result in reduced access to fresh salmon for consumers, restaurants and grocery stores – causing food price hikes at a time where inflation is at its highest rate in decades.
This decision has given pause to companies and organizations who might want to invest their money in aquaculture enterprises not just in British Columbia but also in the Atlantic provinces. More than $1.4 billion worth of investments were planned in Canada before the federal government’s decision to shut down these salmon farms in British Columbia. These investments are now at significant risk.
Overnight, business owners who have spent decades building their companies will lose everything. Those who work at these farms, located in remote communities with limited industries, will be thrown out of work. First Nations communities that have put money into farmed salmon will have nothing to show for their investments.
Governments will lose $21 million in in annual taxes from companies and employees who would otherwise by paying them. Some small coastal communities will lose their largest employers.
Small and medium-sized businesses who supply these salmon farms will be forced to shut or lose a significant chunk of their revenue – resulting in layoffs at a time when COVID is still wreaking havoc on the economy.
Nearly 11 million young, healthy salmon will have to be destroyed, the equivalent to 200 million meals, putting increased pressure on British Columbia’s dwindling wild salmon stocks which have been devastated over the years by overfishing, loss of spawning habitat from human encroachment and climate change.