Herring runs, ocean plastic, salmon stocks — there are some contentious issues when it comes to our waters in the region.
The same holds true for communities close to the oceans in the rest of Canada, so Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has released a report looking at balancing interests when it comes to managing oceans in the future. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray spoke about the report during a media conference on March 11.
“Our ‘Blue Economy’ holds tremendous untapped potential,” she said.
As the Blue Economy Strategy report notes, the feedback will guide the development of the federal government’s blue economy strategy and inform its blue economy-related activities and investments for the future.
Murray said the oceans are responsible for economic activity worth about $30 million a year and represent about 300,000 jobs. At the same time, she referred to the environmental challenges facing the oceans.
To produce the report, the federal government took input from many groups including government, industry, First Nations, environmental organizations and academics through roundtable sessions. As well, Canadians shared views through email and an online survey, Murray said.
“Canadians firmly believe a healthy ocean has more to give,” she said.
Through the process, held in the first half of 2021, the government received 466 survey responses, held 40 roundtables with more than 1,600 participants and received 125 written submissions.
During a question period at the media conference, Murray addressed issues such as environmental standards for the cruise ship industry. Aquaculture also surfaced during the questions, specifically around whether licences set to expire for salmon farming later this year would be renewed.
“We have an important industry,” she said. “At the same time, we have a crisis with wild Pacific salmon.”
She said aquaculture can pose risks but is manageable through innovative, safer technology that could see the industry move away from open-net pens.
As to the salmon farming licence renewal question, Murray was non-committal, saying only that the decision will be made when it needs to be made.