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An Ocean of Opportunities: Aquaculture in Canada

Photo of a man holding a salmon, fishermen picking clams for distribution and a girl preparing a salmon fillet at a factory
Photo of a man holding a salmon, fishermen picking clams for distribution and a girl preparing a salmon fillet at a factory

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The Reports

Salmon in water

Recommendations

LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Recommendation 1

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada introduce a federal aquaculture Act that responds to the concerns voiced during the Committee study and that asserts the full extent of federal jurisdiction. The Committee further recommends that the Act include the following:

  • a strong preamble that expresses federal support for the orderly expansion of an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable aquaculture industry and that recognizes the important economic contribution of the industry in remote, rural, and coastal communities across the country, including First Nations;
  • a consolidation of existing and proposed federal regulations governing aquaculture currently under the Fisheries Act;
  • an explicit power for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to veto any proposed aquaculture site that, in the Minister’s opinion, poses an unacceptable risk of harm to wild fish or fish habitat, or other environmental risks;
  • a new administration housed within Fisheries and Oceans Canada charged with the coordination of the federal regulatory role in aquaculture. The new administration should be a one-stop shop responsible for all federal functions in aquaculture – including those of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and others – to ensure a streamlined and efficient regulatory regime for aquaculture;
  • timelines for the diverse federal decisions on aquaculture authorizations; and
  • non-regulatory provisions in relation to aquaculture statistics and public reporting on the operation of the industry.

Recommendation 2

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada renegotiate existing bilateral Memoranda of Understanding on Aquaculture Management within 18 months of the coming into force of the new federal aquaculture Act to accelerate harmonization and reduce duplication; and

That the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative be extended for another two-year term and be mandated to complete work on national consistency and simplicity in aquaculture regulation.

HEALTHY AQUACULTURED FISH

Recommendation 3

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop and establish with Health Canada and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency a Minor Use, Minor Species Program for Aquaculture.

Recommendation 4

That the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revise Schedule 5 of the regulations under the Feeds Act to include a wider range of additives or ingredients for use in the formulation of fish feed.

Recommendation 5

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada work with the provinces and the aquaculture industry to evaluate, within the next two years, new technologies and methods for the effective management of aquatic invasive species in the shellfish aquaculture sector.

HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE ECOSYSTEMS

Recommendation 6

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada undertake collaborative research on the far-field effects of marine finfish aquaculture and on the potential impacts of pest control products used for sea lice management on non-target organisms; these fields of research should be given priority.

Recommendation 7

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada regularly undertake inspections and consistently enforce compliance in relation to shellfish aquaculture in British Columbia and, in particular, in situations where any floating material or other debris (such as shells, ropes, and buoys) is not disposed of as prescribed and/or remains in the marine environment; the Department should equally act in situations where aquaculture operators in other provinces leave debris in the marine environment.

Recommendation 8

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada develop without delay a formal mechanism with the provinces, the research community and the industry to foster collaborative research and development in the field of aquaculture.

Recommendation 9

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada complete within the next two years a thorough assessment of aquaculture research to inform the public on the main findings and identify gaps in research and development that would become the focus of future research.

SOCIAL LICENCE AND PUBLIC REPORTING

Recommendation 10

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with input from the provinces via the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers, establish within the next two years a central database accessible to the public that contains all currently available information pertaining to the licence and compliance of each aquaculture operator.

Contact information

General Information:
613-990-0088 or 1-800-267-7362

Email: POFO@sen.parl.gc.ca

Mailing Address:
Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A 0A4