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Industry report: not renewing B.C. salmon farm licenses comes with $1.2 billion cost

Economic analysis says 4,700 jobs depend on 79 licenses set to expire at the end of June
A B.C. aquaculture facility. Black Press file photo

An analysis measuring the economic consequences if B.C. salmon farm licenses are not renewed shows some striking numbers.

The analysis was conducted by RIAS Inc., an Ottawa-based economics consulting firm, on behalf of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, an advocacy group for the industry. It examined the economic impact if 79 federal aquaculture licences set to expire by June 30, 2022, are not renewed.

The report concludes that without the renewals, British Columbia would lose more than 4,700 jobs, $1.2 billion in economic activity annually, and $427 million in GDP, according to a BC Salmon Farmers Association press release. Another $200 million in economic activity and 900 jobs would be lost outside the province, according to the report.

“Coastal communities in B.C. deserve better, especially during an ongoing pandemic that has already caused severe stress, mental health strain, and economic pressure on many families, households and communities,” said Ruth Salmon, BC Salmon Farmers Association interim executive director, in the news release. “After years of instability and concern, these communities deserve a secure and prosperous future.”

For these farms to continue to operate, the licences must be reissued by Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray.

The reissuing of these licences would drive BC and Canada’s economic recovery, deliver on Indigenous reconciliation, support the restoration of wild salmon populations, safeguard Canada’s food security and sustainability, enhance Canada’s contribution to climate change mitigation, and align with the federal government’s Blue Economy agenda as outlined in the 2021 Speech from the Throne, according to the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

“We invite Minister Murray to visit the affected rural, coastal communities to better understand the integral role salmon farming plays to the socio-economic wellness of these small towns,” said Salmon.

The full report can be viewed on BC Salmon Farmers Association’s website.

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