File photo.

A provincial review of fish processing plants is underway following concerns over impact to wild salmon stocks.

The review was announced on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The province said review will examine whether provincial regulations on waste discharge from fish processing are backed by the “best available science” and if fish processing discharge is free of contaminants and pathogens.

The announcement comes three weeks after the discovery of bloody effluent coming from a farmed salmon processing plant into Brown’s Bay north of Campbell River that may be releasing a contagious fish virus into wild salmon stocks.

The review will also explore if current treatments for sea lice are scientifically supported and are consistent with best practices in other jurisdictions.

“Serious and widespread concerns about effluent from fish processing operations and finfish aquaculture practices have been raised, and the government is taking action,” George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy said in a release. “We will work with industry, First Nations and local communities to strengthen regulations and make sure any discharge into the water is safe and does not contaminate wild salmon.”

There are approximately 35 waste discharge authorizations issued under the Environmental Management Act for fish processing plants in B.C. The authorizations are said to have been designed to ensure that the environment is protected and that pollution does not occur.

Julian Kolsut