David Eby has received 341 emails from correspondents seeking the BC government's backing for salmon farming.

Salmon farmers write for the right to keep working

BC premier sent 341 emails in campaign to stop site closures


The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, has been sent 341 emails asking for his government’s support to save salmon farms in the province from federal government closures.

But more emails are needed, says the BC Salmon Farmers’ Association, which is running a campaign to have 1,000 sent to Eby by the end of July. Federal government ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also being sent the letters.

“Please share the campaign with your employees, coworkers, family and friends,” the BCSFA said in an email to supporters. “Together we can reach this goal!”

The BCSFA says federal fisheries minister Joyce Murray plans to propose the further removal of salmon farms in BC as part of her BC salmon farming transition plan. This would be on top of the 40% closures the sector has already experienced since 2020.

Job losses and price increases

“The closures have caused job losses, Canadian salmon prices to increase by over 20%, as 192 million annual salmon meals have been taken out of production. Importing salmon from offshore countries to replace the supply gap has also caused Canada’s carbon emissions to increase by 259,000 tonnes, equivalent to placing an additional 56,000 cars on the road,” wrote the BCSFA.

“Any further reduction in salmon production could signal the end of farming in BC.

“Now more than ever, we need to raise our voices and stress the importance of our sector in BC and across Canada. Our letter-writing campaign to the BC government is asking for their support.”

The BCSFA wants letter writers to tell Eby that they support salmon farming, and to point out that the sector supports thousands of direct and indirect jobs, and hundreds of suppliers, contractors, and businesses in BC and across Canada.

The Association also wants to inform Eby that salmon farming in BC is carried out with First Nations inclusion, oversight, and leadership in operations, and offers true reconciliation as it is the only industry in BC which operates under agreements with local First Nations.

Wild salmon enhancement

It adds that the sector provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual support for wild salmon enhancement and restoration, generates billions in annual economic activity, supports healthy rural, coastal communities, and provides locally produced, carbon-friendly, and healthy protein.

Eby, a vegetarian, is a member of the New Democratic Party which has policies that include expanding marine protected areas and growing the Indigenous Guardians Program to advance the protection and restoration of wild Pacific salmon populations on the west coast – something which could potentially put the party at odds with the salmon sector.

However, numerous studies by scientists in the federal government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) have concluded that salmon farming poses no more than a minimal threat to wild Pacific salmon populations.

And the New Democrats have also promised to uphold Indigenous rights. While some First Nations in BC oppose salmon farming, others rely on the sector for income and jobs, and regard the federal government’s closure of sites as an infringement on their rights.