“The plan that we’re announcing today will mean the closure of ten farms in the Broughton over the short-term that will create that safe, migratory route.”

Premier John Horgan announced that over the next few years, ten of the 17 salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago will be shut down. The remaining seven could be gone by 2023. All are Norweigan-owned.

“I want to thank the leadership of Marine Harvest and Cermaq as well. These are difficult times for the companies,” Horgan said.

Marine Harvest employs 600 on its 12 operations. But there will be no job losses according to managing director, Dr. Diane Morrison.

“I can tell them that they can feel good about their jobs. They can have a Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday season. And we will carry on and it’s a good step forward.”

The companies’ plan is to shift production to their other fish farms outside the Broughton, or start new farms.

But Bob Chamberlin, Chief Councillor of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, said that will only happen with First Nations approval.

“That means there’s going to be a couple of farms are not going to be there this year. Couple of farms are not going to be there the next year. A couple of farms are not going to be the following year. And all along, we’re going to have the independent indigenous monitoring. And this is something that was welcomed by all parties,” Chamberlin said.

For those opposed to fish farming, it’s the news they’ve been waiting for.

“We’re overjoyed with the announcement. It’s actually kind of surreal to see industry, both levels of government, first nations, all in the same room talking about removing all the salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago,” said Stan Probroszcz, science advisor to Watershed Watch.

“So, I”m over the moon, actually.”

The ten farms closing are in the path of migratory salmon. The remaining seven will have to prove they are not a risk to wild stocks, according to Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

“They will need a checkoff from DFO on salmon health, that the salmon farms are not affecting the health of wild salmon,” Popham said.

It is possible that by 2023, fish farms could be a thing of the past in the Broughton Archipelago.

Mary Griffin