Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

January 29, 2010 10:23 ET

DFO Provided Additional Time to Complete the Development of B.C. Aquaculture Regulation Until December 2010

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 29, 2010) - The British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) announced on January 26, 2010, that the current management regime and regulatory framework governing the aquaculture industry in B.C. will remain in effect until December 18, 2010, allowing the federal government additional time to develop and implement a new federal regulation and regulatory framework under the Fisheries Act.

Last year, the BCSC held that the activity of finfish aquaculture is a fishery and falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government under the Constitution Act, 1867. The court ordered that the existing largely provincially-managed aquaculture regulatory regime be maintained until February 10, 2010.

Recently, the Government of Canada had filed for an extension of the court-imposed deadline to allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) more time to develop a new regulatory regime for the management of aquaculture in British Columbia.

The BCSC imposed a restriction on the extension and ordered that the Province of B.C. issue no licences for new fish farms in B.C. and that they not extend the areas within which licensed fish farms are permitted to operate (as of February 9, 2010). In the event that the restriction creates difficulties for the parties or intervenor, the court has indicated that they could propose consent orders for the efficient management of aquaculture activities or, if necessary, they could reappear before the Court for modifications to the extension order.

"The Government of Canada is committed to the development of a sustainable, well-regulated and environmentally-friendly aquaculture industry in B.C.," said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

With the extension, DFO will continue to develop a new regulation and regulatory framework under the Fisheries Act for the management of aquaculture in B.C.

To support the development of a new regulatory regime for B.C. aquaculture, extensive public consultations have been ongoing since December. Individuals or organizations who wish to comment may e-mail a submission to no later than February 26, 2010.

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