November 13, 2020
Dear friends and neighbours,
Big news on Pacific salmon this week! The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Hon. Bernadette Jordan, is launching consultations with First Nations, industry, and ENGOs, on ending open-net pen aquaculture in BC waters. The Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, local Burnaby MP Terry Beech, will play a key role. The health of our sockeye salmon and concerns about the current salmon aquaculture methods have been a high priority since I was provincial environment minister and created BC’s first-ever regulations protecting the ocean floor from excessive waste generated by salmon farming operations.
As Vancouver Quadra’s MP I led the push for our Government’s commitment to setting a fixed-end date for open-net pens, and transitioning to an environmentally safer way of raising salmon, while protecting remote Indigenous workers’ jobs. These consultations are a critical step in ensuring the necessary salmon aquaculture transition is “workable, economically feasible, and takes into account social impacts.” Other foundational work by our government regarding the sustainability of the important Pacific wild salmon stocks includes:
- the 2019 “State of Salmon Aquaculture Technologies Study”, funded by DFO in partnership with Sustainable Development and Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia. This study examined four alternatives to open-net pens for producing market-sized salmon;
- work undertaken by the Indigenous and Multi-stakeholder Advisory Body on Aquaculture;
- the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report ‘An Ocean of Opportunities: Aquaculture in Canada”; and
- the final 2018 Report from the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science.
Protecting wild salmon and their habitat is a high priority for British Columbians, not only in Vancouver, but throughout the coast and beyond. Prime Minister Trudeau gets it, and in the 2019 federal election he promised to end open-net pen salmon aquaculture by 2025. I will keep working toward the fulfillment of that promise.
You may have also seen that last week Minister Jordan announced the start of construction on a new environmental response depot in Port Hardy, strengthening the Coast Guard’s capacity to mobilize quickly should marine pollution threaten the Central Coast.
The sustainability of precious ocean and coastal waters and ecosystems more generally is a key priority for our government, which is why we have committed to increase ocean and coastal protected areas from a mere 1% in 2015, to 25% by 2025!
Visiting the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year; we re-opened the base in 2016 after the previous government closed it.
In less upbeat news, COVID-19 cases continue rising dramatically across Canada, including in BC. Vancouver is currently under a public health order mandating that we only socialize with those in our household or immediate bubble. Researchers are working intensely to develop and trial promising new vaccines and drug therapies, helped by billions of dollars of recent federal funding. UBC President Santa Ono confirmed in my meeting with him yesterday that two of three leading therapeutic candidates are based on discoveries created by UBC research teams! We can be proud of these rapid responses and collaborations, and in the meantime, let’s all re-commit to wear our masks, respect social distancing, and follow public health recommendations to slow the virus spread!
Wishing you a safe and healthy weekend.
The Hon. Joyce Murray, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra
Minister of Digital Government
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