When will DFO turn its attention to the threat posed by open-pen aquaculture?

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I want to take us a bit further than Bill C-55. The Minister of Fisheries has thus far dealt with amendments in Bill C-68 and amendments to the Oceans Act in Bill C-55.

He has not yet touched on the area that is of profound concern to people who want to see our fisheries areas protected and our oceans protected to protect the fish within those lines in a marine protected area on the map by really dealing with the threat of aquaculture in open waters in open pens.

I wonder if the parliamentary secretary can let us know when the minister and the parliamentary secretary will turn their attention to the threat posed by open-pen aquaculture of not-local species, with the contamination of sea lice and viruses that affect our wild fisheries.

Terry Beech – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is aware, members of the B.C. caucus have been very vocal on the issues around aquaculture. It is an issue I have spent a lot of my own personal time researching. In fact, I made a statement earlier in the House, during question period about four weeks ago, that we are currently looking into this, along with our partners in the province and along with indigenous communities. In fact, I have a copy of that statement here.

As a British Columbian, I understand the very real concerns Canadians share about aquaculture. We rightly expect that aquaculture practices and technology must minimize impacts on wild fish and the environment. We support a new vision for sustainable aquaculture that recognizes that in the long term, a pristine environment is the greatest economic driver. We are working to ensure that Canada’s aquaculture industry is a global leader in producing high-quality aquaculture products in an environmentally sustainable manner.