Cullen says fish farm ruling a positive step for salmon

OTTAWA

The BC Supreme Court decision this week giving Ottawa full jurisdiction over management of salmon farming is a step toward better protection of wild stocks, said Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

“This ruling puts an end to the problem of overlapping federal and provincial jurisdiction, a situation that has always placed politics first and the protection of fish second,” Cullen said.

“Clarity that management belongs solely with the federal government, which is mandated to put wild salmon first, gives DFO the teeth to finally develop regulations to protect our Pacific stocks and their essential coastal habitat.

“A part of the solution lay in a clear chain of command for regulation. Since the federal government provides enforcement, it stands to reason that the federal government should also be the regulating body,” Cullen said.

Cullen cautioned Monday’s court ruling is not yet a win for wild salmon.

“This whole thing is meaningless if DFO doesn’t get serious about shutting down open net farms and enact tough, community-supported regulations that meaningfully protect our precious wild stocks.”

BC Supreme Court Justice Christopher Hinkson said in his written decision that fish farms are not farms but fisheries occupying areas meant for the rearing of wild salmon, which can only be authorized by Parliament.

He said the “national resource of the fisheries is not a matter that should or can be left to a level of government other than Parliament.”

Salmon farming in ocean net pens has been the subject of long-standing concerns due to parasite and disease transfer to wild stocks, pollution from waste products, and the escape of hatchery born and farm raised salmon.

Contact: Shelley Browne, 250-877-4142; nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca