The Pacific Aquaculture Regulations (the Regulations) were posted to the Canada Gazette Part II today. Under the Fisheries Act, these regulations and the Fishery (General) Regulations (FGR) will govern certain activities regarding the cultivation of fish in British Columbia (BC) beginning December 18, 2010, when the federal government assumes a greater role in the management of aquaculture activities in the province. As of December 18, 2010, finfish, shellfish and freshwater aquaculture operations within the province will require a federal aquaculture licence issued under the Fisheries Act, a federal Navigable Waters Protection Act permit and a provincial lease. The Province will remain a key player. It will continue to issue tenures where operations take place in either the marine or freshwater environment, licence marine plant cultivation, and manage business aspects of aquaculture such as work place health and safety within the province.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) thoroughly considered the more than 900 stakeholder comments received during the regulatory drafting and finalizing process. DFO would like to thank those who provided comments on the draft regulations as well as during the initial consultation period.
The Regulations and the FGR establish a licensing regime, consistent with the regime for other fisheries managed by DFO, but are tailor-made to address the uniqueness of the aquaculture sector in BC. The Regulations apply to most aspects of aquaculture management that were covered in the former provincial regulations, as well as aspects related to predator control under the Marine Mammal Regulations, and individual Harmful Alteration, Disruption and Destruction (HADD) authorizations issued under Section 35 of the Fisheries Act. The Regulations work together and provide for the management and regulation of aquaculture in BC.
The only significant change to the regulations between their posting in Canada Gazette Part I and later in Canada Gazette Part II is the removal of sections dealing with the deposit of deleterious substances. The Department has determined, based on additional policy research and stakeholder consultations, that a national framework would be a more effective approach to management of substances such as sea lice treatment chemicals. As a result, DFO is working on the development of new national Fish Pathogen and Pest Treatment regulations.
Environmental protection conditions will be included in the new federal aquaculture licence. Aquaculture sites requiring approval under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, determined by Transport Canada, will continue to undergo assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The Government of Canada is committed to the conservation of marine ecosystems and to the development of aquaculture in a manner that is ecologically sustainable, economically viable and internationally competitive. Please consult the DFO website regularly for further information regarding the British Columbia Aquaculture Regulatory Program.