With the Federal Election around the corner there are 26,000 aquaculture industry professionals across Canada who want to know who to vote for.
If the Liberals are re-elected, the party plans to move all operations to closed containment in British Columbia by 2025.
The Liberal Party pledges there that it will "protect the health of Canada’s oceans" and "the people whose livelihoods depend on them and to the marine species, including whales and commercial fishing stocks, that cannot exist without them,” said an 85-page document unveiled by the Liberal party that consisted of initiatives for Canada.
"To keep Canada’s oceans healthy, we will move forward with more investments in marine science and fighting invasive species, and will work with coastal communities, Indigenous communities, and others to better protect fish stocks and marine habitats from changes resulting from climate change.
"This will include introducing Canada’s first-ever Aquaculture Act.
After the release of the Liberal Parties document the Conservative Party released initiatives that includes the creation of advisory panels which will include relationships with fish harvesters and anglers, Indigenous groups and other experts to “rebuild critical stocks and ensure that everyone is working together.” The party plans to create a modern aquaculture act and “support the advancement of technology and practices that reduce contact between wild and farmed salmon.”
With so many promises made by both parties the aquaculture industry is looking for detailed answers before it casts its vote. The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industries Association penned a letter to local candidates in hopes that more clarity regarding platform promises would be released before Canadians vote on October 21.
The letter read: “We have worked together both professionally and federally. We appreciate your support for aquaculture and the important opportunity in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially for marine salmon farming. This is the sustainable section that Canada, a Newfoundland and Labrador should have been championing and supporting. We are young and well,” read the letter.
“We are young, and we will constantly improve, but we need your leadership and partnership, our national and regional associations are deeply dismayed by the news of the Liberal parties commitment to require all ocean farming and British Columbia to transition to close by 2025.
“Besides being technically and economically impossible to achieve investment across Canada is immediately threatened as farming companies seek to invest for long term, but with no confidence in government regulation or policy banks will also look elsewhere rather than support the uncertainty of the Canadian industry.
“Industry experts has been involved in multi stakeholder discussions in British Columbia with Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the request of Minster Johnathan Wilkinson to develop a pathway for new technology, we did so with great energy and trust. Unanimously the draft report, except for the environmental activists on the panel agreed that close containment was not realistic option in the near future.
“If the platform promise is fulfilled in British Columbia, the activist community will focus its efforts on the east coast to support their cause.”
The letter goes on to say that the East coastal farming community will cease to exist if the Liberal promise of closed containment initializes.
“It is up to you and hope you will choose long term sustainable jobs and sustainable food production and small communities all across Newfoundland and Labrador. We asked you to fight back and show Newfoundlanders and Labrador that you have their back and will fight to keep ocean based farming not just alive but able to thrive.”