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Canada unveils plans for major aquaculture sector overhaul

Risk-based approach will form overarching framework for future policies.

Canada's government has unveiled a raft of initiatives aimed at ensuring that the country's aquaculture sector is economically successful and environmentally sustainable.

Key initiatives in the renewed approach include a study on alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land-based and sea-based closed containment technology.

Authorities say they want to determine gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts.

A study will be carried out in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

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The agency aims to move the sector toward an area-based approach to aquaculture management to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development, including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon.

Authorities around the world are concerned about protecting wild salmon populations from the threat of sea lice infestations, which may be found in areas where salmon farms are situated.

Officials also want to develop a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on a precautionary approach.

The approach is aimed at ensuring the sustainable management of aquaculture and will be the overarching framework for future policies.

As well as working with provinces, territories, indigenous groups, stakeholders and the scientific community, the government plans to establish a single comprehensive set of regulations, known as the General Aquaculture Regulations.

The aim of the new regulations is to bring about more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public in relation to how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

"These measures will change the way aquaculture is done in Canada – by establishing a more holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs and protecting our environment," Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said in a statement.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the government is "committed to making aquaculture more effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable."

"Together, with Indigenous, environmental and industry partners, we will lead the way towards a more prosperous and sustainable aquaculture industry," he said in a statement.

Canada's new aquaculture governance strategy

The Canadian government announced it will undertake a major overhaul of its approach to aquaculture management in the country. Among the key initiatives:

  • A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology. This will enable officials to determine gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts. The study will be conducted in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia;
  • Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
  • Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies. Authorities plan to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the scientific community;
  • Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. This will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

Source: Government of Canada

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