Regulating and monitoring British Columbia’s marine finfish aquaculture facilities 2015–2016: How aquaculture facilities are regulated

Table of Contents

  1. Summary of marine finfish aquaculture in British Columbia
  2. How aquaculture facilities are regulated
  3. Assessing compliance
    1. How DFO assesses the performance of aquaculture facilities
    2. Enforcement options
    3. Summary of charges and convictions, 2015-2016
    4. Enforcement activities
    5. Violations in 2015
    6. Violations in 2016
  4. Reporting requirements and reports submitted
    1. Reporting requirements
    2. Scheduled reports
    3. Event-based reports
  5. Monitoring and audits: Fish health
    1. Fish health management plans
    2. Fish health in 2015
    3. Fish health in 2016
    4. Sea Lice
    5. Fish Mortality
  6. Monitoring and audits: Environmental
    1. Benthic (seabed) monitoring
    2. DFO’s benthic audit program
    3. Escapes
    4. Incidental catch
    5. Interactions with marine mammals
    6. Use of lights
    7. Use of chemicals, and feed and other substances
    8. Aquaculture activities regulations
  7. Monitoring and audits: Inventory and aquaculture statistics
    1. Inventory plans and stock transfers
    2. Annual aquaculture statistical report
  8. Summary

DFO responsibilities and licences

The most important pieces of legislation governing marine finfish aquaculture activities in British Columbia (BC) are the Fisheries Act, the Fishery (General) Regulations, the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations, and the newly implemented Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR). The AAR, which came into force in 2015, set out the conditions under which specific deleterious substances can be used by aquaculture operators across the country. DFO is responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Act and regulations.

Through the BC Aquaculture Regulatory Program (BCARP), DFO

Licences for marine finfish facilities require that all of the following be managed and monitored: which species are cultured, production levels, containment of fish, the introduction and transfer of fish, fish health, sea lice, incidental catch of wild fish (bycatch), escapes, interactions with marine mammals and the impacts to fish habitat. Additional site-specific licence conditions may be imposed where required. DFO has a monitoring, audit and surveillance program to ensure that each company complies with the licence conditions.

Responsibilities of other federal agencies

Other federal agencies also have legal responsibilities relating to aquaculture activities. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has responsibilities under the Feeds Act, and Health of Animals Act; Health Canada under the Food and Drug Act and the Pest Control Products Act; Environment Canada under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and Transport Canada under the Navigation Protection Act and the Canada Shipping Act.

Responsibilities of provincial and local governments

The Province of British Columbia is responsible for issuing Crown land tenures, which authorize the use of Crown land for aquaculture activities, including the use of the seabed under and around finfish facilities. Separate provincial legislation regulates how farmed fish are processed, how the processing wastewater is disposed of and how dead fish are disposed of on land. The provincial government is also responsible for the management and regulation of business and labour aspects of aquaculture in BC. Local governments are not directly involved with marine finfish aquaculture, but are responsible for land zoning and water usage for other aquaculture sectors in BC.

More information on aquaculture in B.C. can be found at: