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Multi-year aquaculture licensing will increase operational certainty for BC farmers

Salmon farm, Campbell River, British Columbia. (Photo: DFO)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) of Canada has announced the implementation of multi-year licensing for aquaculture operators in British Columbia.

The changes will provide the industry with more operational certainty and longer term planning capacity while allowing them to invest in sustainable practices, according to federal minister Gail Shea.

Aquaculture owners and operators will still have to meet their licence conditions throughout the period for which their multi-year licence is issued. Should they contravene these conditions, the DFO has the authority to suspend or revoke the licence.

The Government of Canada continues to engage with First Nations, industry, provincial authorities, and environmental organizations on the duration of multi-year licensing for implementation in Spring 2015.

As the result of a British Columbia Supreme Court decision, the DFO became responsible for the regulatory control of aquaculture in British Columbia in December 2010.

As the regulator, and building on its targeted regulatory reform agenda for aquaculture, the Department is aligning its approach to licensing with multi-year licensing practices already in place in most provincial jurisdictions.

Under the Fisheries Act, multi-year licences may be issued for up to nine years.

The Department is maintaining its moratorium on aquaculture development in the Discovery Islands and therefore multi-year licences will not be available for this area.

“Implementing multi-year licences with annual fees by instalment will increase operational certainty and stability for aquaculture operators in British Columbia by improving their investment and insurance opportunities," said Minister Shea.

"Our Government is proud to take further steps to enable the aquaculture industry to thrive and create much needed jobs in rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities, while being sustainable and environmentally responsible."

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