North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney and Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan had a conversation on Monday about	the economic transition plan for Vancouver Island, following the minister’s Dec.17 announcement to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022 . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney and Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan had a conversation on Monday about the economic transition plan for Vancouver Island, following the minister’s Dec.17 announcement to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022 . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Fisheries minister, MP Blaney talk fish farm transition plans for Vancouver Island

Suggestions involve economic development summit for North Island with feds and regional stakeholders

Federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan told North Island -Powell River MP Rachel Blaney that Ottawa is still working on a transition “plan,” for Vancouver Island a month after the Dec. 17 decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island farms by 2022.

In a conversation with Jordan on Monday, the NDP whip told the minister that it was “unacceptable” to have announced the decision without any plan to support affected workers.

“The minister acknowledged that there was still a lot of work to be done with the industry and was hoping to hear from them directly on the impact and plans going forward, she said at this point, she’s still waiting for information and I’m sure the industry is working diligently on getting that to her,” said Blaney.

She also told the minister that moving forward, “multiple departments of the federal government” will have to provide support for this solution.

Along with considering a whole government approach, the minister has also committed to providing resources for the community but has not specified any amount yet, said Blaney.

To accelerate the process, suggestions were made to the minister to tap into the newly announced Regional Development Agency of BC as a possible driver for the economic transition.

“A regional approach is better suited than Ottawa telling us what to do,” said Blaney.

READ MORE: Rachel Blaney to meet fisheries minister to discuss economic transition plan for Vancouver Island re: fish farm decision

“I also talked to her about the reality that we need more initiatives and investments in this riding around supporting wild salmon and habitat restoration. And those are decent jobs that could really make a difference and also really see an improvement in our wild salmon stocks,” said Blaney.

Following the conversation, Blaney and North Island MLA Michele Babchuk sent a letter to minister Jordan asking the federal government to be part of an urgent regional economic development summit for north Vancouver Island communities.

In the letter, Babchuk and Blaney told the minister that hosting an economic summit for North Island to discuss and formulate the required steps for assistance and ongoing development will be vital for the transition plan that the federal government stated to support.

Keeping in line with their suggestion for a cross-government approach, the pair also extended the invitation to federal ministers of environment Jonathan Wilkinson and rural economic development Maryam Monsef to participate in the proposed economic summit.

In December, after the federal government announced the decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms after consultation with seven First Nations from the area, the aquaculture industry estimated a direct loss of over 1,500 jobs on northern Vancouver Island.

The federal government stated its commitment to supporting the transition process but is yet to provide further details about the plan.

The Mirror has reached out to Jordan’s office for a comment.

READ MORE: Canada ‘stole Christmas’ says Vancouver Island’s aquaculture industry

Federal PoliticsFish Farmsvancouverisland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland’s council is looking at more ways to preserve its heritage not only through its museum and archives but through historic buildings. Record file photo
Cumberland considers density bonus to preserve heritage

The incentive is just one of many steps community looking at to protect older sites

Royston resident and photographer Tanja Kerr took a quick video of two eagles taking a quick dip in the water earlier this week. Video still/Tanja Kerr
Video: Eagle spotting in Royston

Photographer Tanja Kerr ensures her camera is always nearby

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Union Bay electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Angel Azul
World Community Film Festival reaches 30th year

Every February for the past three decades, World Community has hosted a… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Most Read