Premier John Horgan and ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik meet at Alert Bay over opposition to salmon farming, Oct. 12, 2017. (Hanna Petersen/North Island Gazette)

B.C. minister warned salmon farm not to restock

Letter to Marine Harvest not a threat, Lana Popham says

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says her letter to a B.C. salmon farm company last week was not a threat to cancel salmon farm tenures in a disputed area north of Vancouver Island.

Marine Harvest Canada went ahead with restocking its Port Elizabeth farm near Alert Bay on the weekend despite the formal request to stop, and an RCMP boat attended the area to maintain order with protesters who have occupied area salmon farms since late August.

Popham’s Oct. 13 letter to Marine Harvest Canada managing director Vincent Erenst said the restocking “comes at a very sensitive time in government-to-government discussions” with aboriginal people who assert territory in the Broughton Archipelago and oppose ocean-based salmon farms. The province has 18 salmon farm tenures that are coming up for renewal next year.

RELATED: David Suzuki joins salmon farm protest

“As you are aware, government will be reviewing tenures and will make a decision on renewals before the current leases expire in June 2018,” Popham wrote. “While the issuance of any replacement tenure or any permission to allow you continued occupation of existing sites on a month-to-month [basis] remains subject to future decision-making processes and cannot be guaranteed, we look forward to your input on the lease renewal decisions.”

[See letter below]

In an interview with Black Press, Popham said the letter was not meant as a threat, and she understands the company’s decision to go ahead with restocking its salmon.

“I think one thing we can all agree on is that the status quo is not going to happen any more,” Popham said. “The salmon farmers also agree with that.”

Marine Harvest communications director Ian Roberts said the restocking was put off as long as possible, and the need to proceed and maintain the health of live salmon was communicated to the government. He added that the protesters have refused to meet with company officials, and Marine Harvest is willing to talk about solutions, including relocating salmon farms.

“However, that solution must include maintaining the business we have built over 30 years in B.C. with the support of the provincial and federal governments,” Roberts said in a statement. “We have a very good track record of working with First Nation governments who are willing to meet with us – currently having protocol agreements with 15 First Nations out of the 24 First Nations in whose traditional territories we operate.”

Popham’s letter was copied to federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who has licence authority over offshore salmon farms on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Popham to MHC Oct 13:17 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

National trail group decries province’s plans for West Kootenay trail

Converting trail back to motorized use will harm its international reputation, says official

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

UPDATED: MV Balfour ferry returns to service

The 65-year-old ferry had been out of action for a month

Black Press Career Fair underway in Cranbrook at Days Inn

Opportunities abound for employers and job seekers

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Thermal imaging cameras eye Salish Sea in hopes of better detecting whales

Cameras installed at BC Ferries’ terminal on Galiano Island, and off southern Gulf Islands

BREAKING: Province approves Surrey police force

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth green-lights city’s municipal police force

Most Read