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Government of Canada announces new way forward on aquaculture management and the protection of wild salmon

December 10, 2018

Ottawa, ON — Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source has increased significantly in the last decades. This demand is projected to further increase as the world’s population continues to grow. Combined with unprecedented pressures on many global fish stocks in our oceans, it is clear the world needs aquaculture.

Canada’s aquaculture industry generates thousands of good middle-class jobs, mostly in coastal, rural and Indigenous communities. The sector provides high quality Canadian products to markets around the world.

As Canada moves to seize the economic opportunity presented by the aquaculture sector, the Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, industry, indigenous partners, environmental groups and other stakeholders, must work together to ensure we have an economically viable and environmentally

Today, the Government of Canada is announcing that we are moving forward with a suite of initiatives that will ensure that our aquaculture sector is economically successful and environmentally sustainable. Key initiatives in our renewed approach include:

  • A study on the alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land and sea-based closed containment technology. This will enable us to determine gaps that limit commercial readiness and help to inform future technology development efforts. The study will be conducted in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Province of British Columbia;
  • Moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management – to ensure that environmental, social and economic factors are taken into consideration when identifying potential areas for aquaculture development – including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
  • Developing a framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach, which will ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture, and will be the overarching framework for future policies. We will work with, provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the scientific community;
  • Creating a single comprehensive set of regulations, the General Aquaculture Regulations. This will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders and the Canadian public about how aquaculture is managed for responsible growth in Canada.

These measures will change the way aquaculture is done in Canada – by establishing a more holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs and protecting our environment.

Earlier this year, our Government asked Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer to examine, by leading an expert panel, how we can strengthen aquaculture science and how it informs decision-making.

The initiatives announced today follow last week’s meeting of the Canadian Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where Ministers agreed to the development of a federal Aquaculture Act that will enhance sector transparency, facilitate the adoption of best practices and provide greater consistency and certainty for industry.

The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments on aquaculture management as we help seek to grow the sector in an environmentally sustainable manner across the country.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can and will have confidence in the environmental sustainability of our aquaculture sector as we pursue the tremendous economic opportunity that this sector represents.


“The Government of Canada is committed to making aquaculture more effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable. Together, with Indigenous, environmental and industry partners, we will lead the way towards a more prosperous and sustainable aquaculture industry.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The development of aquaculture policies that include Indigenous, scientific and seafood producer perspectives are important steps to making sure the people working in our coastal communities have long-term opportunities in sustainable aquaculture production, and that our natural environment and wild species are not placed at risk. I support the collaborative approach that is being adopted and the recognition that alternative technologies have a role to play in the growth of sustainable aquaculture in British Columbia.”

The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture of British Columbia

“Sustainable Development Technology Canada looks forward to working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia to deepen our understanding of new aquaculture production technologies, including sensor and data technologies, which will enhance the sustainable growth of the Canada’s aquaculture industry.”

Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Quick facts

  • In line with supporting innovation, the Government of Canada helps businesses incorporate existing clean technologies into their day-to-day operations through the Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program. The program provides fisheries and aquaculture industries up to $20 million for clean technology use over four years.
  • In November 2018, the Government of Canada and the province of British Columbia announced work to develop the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. Canada will contribute over $100 million in federal funding over six years, and provincial funding will be announced in the coming months.