British Columbia Aquaculture Regulatory Program

Service standards:

Performance against this standard will be tracked, measured and reported to Treasury Board and the public annually using existing processes. The target for achieving the service standard is 90 per cent.

New sites and major technical amendments

In addition to new site applications, the service standard applies to applications for major technical amendments. Fisheries and Oceans Canada typically considers an amendment to be “major” when it requires:

  • formal assessment of potential environmental impacts;
  • consultation with First Nations; and/or
  • review by other partner agencies in the harmonized licensing process.

Examples of major technical amendments include:

  • Freshwater/land-based, marine finfish and shellfish: addition of speciesFootnote 1
  • Freshwater/land-based and marine finfish: increases to production
  • Freshwater/land-based: changes to the management plan which include:
    • changes to infrastructure within 30 meters of water; and
    • increases to discharge flow and/or concentration to natural waters
  • Marine Finfish: changes to infrastructure where a comprehensive assessment of potential impacts to fish and fish habitat is required
Upon receipt of a fully completed applicationFootnote 2 Fisheries and Oceans Canada will make a decisionFootnote 3 regarding new sites or major technical amendments, as outlined below, within 365 calendar daysFootnote 4.

Service delivery guidelines

In addition, the Department has identified further service delivery guidelines for each class of licence amendment identified below. The target for achieving each of the service delivery guidelines is 90 per cent.

Administrative amendments

Examples of administrative amendments include:

  • Changes to the name of a licence holder (licence assignment)
  • Removal of a species from a licence

Upon receipt of a fully completed application, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will process administrative amendments to a licence within 30 calendar days.

Minor technical amendments

Fisheries and Oceans Canada typically considers an amendment to be “minor” when a decision can be reached without the need for a rigorous review and assessment process, or the involvement of outside parties.

Examples of minor technical amendments include:

  • Addition or removal or modifications to site‐specific conditions
  • Freshwater/land-based (lake net pen sites only) and marine finfish: decreases in production (unless in conjunction with an amendment for a corresponding increase at another site, in which case the application may be classified as a “Major Technical Amendment”)
  • Freshwater/land-based: changes to infrastructure in a management plan which are greater than 30m from a watercourse
  • Marine finfish: changes to infrastructure that are likely to have a neutral or decreased impact on fish and fish habitat

Upon receipt of a fully completed application, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will process minor technical amendments to a licence within 120 calendar days. 

Performance target:

For each category, the target for achieving the corresponding standard is set at 90 per cent.

Performance information:

Performance information
Service Standard Target 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Marine Finfish applications including:
  • New licence applications
  • Major technical amendments
Decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 365 calendar days 90% 100% 100% 100%
Shellfish applications including:
  • New licence applications
  • Major technical amendments
Decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 365 calendar days 90% 100% 100% 100%
Freshwater/land-based applications including:
  • New licence applications
  • Major technical amendments
Decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 365 calendar days 90% 100% 100% 100%
Performance information
Service Delivery Guidelines Target 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Administrative amendments Processed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 30 calendar days 90% 100% 100% 100%
Minor technical amendments Processed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada within 120 calendar days 90% 64.7% 100% 100%

Applying for new sites and major technical amendments

While licences for aquaculture operations in British Columbia are issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the provincial government and other federal departments continue to play a role in the licensing process. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and the Province of British Columbia work together in a harmonized application process. All applications for new sites and major technical amendments to existing sites for freshwater/land-based, shellfish and marine finfish aquaculture operations are submitted through FrontCounterBC.

Additional information regarding the harmonized licensing process for aquaculture in British Columbia is available on Fisheries and Oceans Canada`s website: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/licence-permis/index-eng.html

Service delivery feedback

Questions regarding the application process should be directed to: aquaculture.licensing@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Concerns or complaints regarding the Department`s ability to achieve its service standard or service delivery guidelines should be submitted to the email address for the relevant sector:

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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