Salmon farm off the coast of Vancouver Island (Black Press files)

Salmon farms are Ottawa’s responsibility, John Horgan says

B.C. premier, agriculture minister announce wild salmon advisory group

The B.C. government is setting up a wild salmon advisory council to study the state of wild salmon on the B.C. coast, and will have more to say soon on the salmon farm tenures around Vancouver Island that are coming up for renewal.

The council is co-chaired by Chief Marilyn Slett of the Heiltsuk Nation at Bella Bella on the B.C. Central Coast, and Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley.

Premier John Horgan and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham made the announcement Friday at the B.C. legislature. Horgan said the salmon farm licences coming up for renewal this month on the B.C. coast are up to the federal government, and Popham will have more to say on those in the near future.

RELATED: Popham warned salmon farm not to restock

The province is in talks with Indigenous communities in the region, some of whom oppose net-pen aquaculture and some who derive their livelihood from it in remote communities on the coast. Some of the farms have been occupied and disrupted by protesters since last summer.

One of the protesters, a woman who identified herself as Tsastilqualus, shouted at Horgan and demanded salmon farms be shut down immediately, dismissing the idea that further discussions are needed. Horgan suggested she cast her vote in the next provincial election.

Horgan said the government will develop its wild salmon strategy over the summer as recommendations from the advisory group come in.

Asked if B.C. salmon farm operators should be nervous about the province’s opposition, after Popham tried to interfere with their operations last fall, Horgan said no.

“I think their concern should be that there is a divide in British Columbia about the continued existence of the industry,” Horgan said. “We need to make sure that we’re working as a government with the primary area of responsibility, which is the federal government.

“The province is responsible for the anchors that hold the nets to the ground. The federal government is responsible for everything else.”

Members of the advisory committee include Green Party MLA Adam Olsen, United Fisheries and Allied Workers’ Union president Joy Thorkelson, First Nations Summit co-chair Ray Harris, Okanagan Nation Alliance fisheries biologist Dawn Machin, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks, Heiltsuk commercial fisherman James Lawson and Ward Bond, co-owner of Island Outfitters and a member of the Canada-U.S. Pacific Salmon Foundation board.

Just Posted

Fire at Cultus Lake closes the road

Vehicle fire caused column of black smoke to billow over the lake

Fraser Valley coach keeps coming back to guide kids at the BC Summer Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Man arrested in Maple Ridge in connection with Victoria-area murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

Hot weather returning to Chilliwack

Temperatures expected to climb into the low 30s starting Sunday

UPDATE: Abbotsford police seek info from public after man, 32, found dead

IHIT identifies victim as Sukhpreet Grewal, who they say was known to police

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Gold medallists at BC Games only trained together for 1 day

Ryan Goudron, Nathan Chan, Owen Pinto and Praise Aniamaka from Zone 4 - Fraser River ran together for the first time

Five taken to hospital after one of two Coquihalla accidents

One airlifted in critical condition, four taken via ambulance in stable condition

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Most Read