The B.C. government will announce a new policy for the future of 20 contentious open-net fish farms off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham will present the province’s plan regarding aquaculture tenures at 12:30 p.m.
Those tenures expire today and the company that owns the farms in the Broughton Archipelago expects operations to continue on a month-to-month basis.
Marine Harvest Canada spokesperson Jeremy Dunn says that’s what happened the last time tenures expired, which were later renewed by the province.
Dunn says if the government plans to evict the fish farms, a 60-day notice is required.
First Nations and environmentalists have protested against fish farms along the B.C. coast saying they pose a risk to wild salmon stocks and have put pressure on the NDP government to shut them down.
The province says talks are continuing with Indigenous groups in the area to reach a resolution on open-net farms.
The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association says 70 per cent of the salmon harvested in the province each year is farm-raised and defended the role fish farms have in protecting wild salmon stocks.
Opponents argue the fish farms pose a risk to wild salmon populations by spreading viruses, diseases and sea lice.