For the first time ever, the Government of Canada has proposed a federal Aquaculture Act. As we have done now for the past two years of the Act’s development, we are calling again on the federal legislators to develop national standards for aquaculture operations that can hold industry and Provincial regulators to account, enhance protections for wild fish and fish habitat, and incentivize a transition away from open net-pen aquaculture in Canada.
At present, we are faced with a draft legislation that appears heavily in favour of the aquaculture industry, intended to streamline regulatory processes and provide certainty for operators. We cannot allow for aquaculture laws that place pure profit over the protection of aquatic ecosystems. We are working with our colleagues from across the country to ensure any Aquaculture Act going forward includes the following principles.
Recommendations for a strong Aquaculture Act:
The Ecology Action Centre is urging the adoption of these recommendations for an Aquaculture Act that can enhance protections for aquatic ecosystems and build a more ecologically sustainable aquaculture industry in Canada.
You can read more about our work on the Aquaculture Act at the links below or learn more about the proposed Aquaculture Act at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Aquaculture Act webpage.
Related Documents and Information
Our joint 2019 submission of comment on the proposed Aquaculture Act, received by DFO’s Aquaculture Management division. We’re calling for a consistent, precautionary structure focused on strong regulations and incentives away from open net-pens, as well as substantive recommendations for each proposed section of the Act.
Our joint 2021 submission to Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the Aquaculture Act, reiterating our 2019 recommendations and outlining several "red lines," or bare minimum legislative components, required for our continued support of the Act's development. This document responds directly to DFO's Aquaculture Act "Discussion Paper," essentially a first draft copy of the Aquaculture Act, produced in July of 2020.
A joint January 2021 letter to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans outlines our disappointment with the draft Aquaculture Act to-date, heavily favouring industry at the expense of environmental protections and regulatory consistency across provinces. There appear to be few pathways by which the Aquaculture Act can actually enhance ecological outcomes for aquatic ecosystems. At this point, EAC and its partners are calling for a total redirect if the Act is to go forward.
EAC Senior Marine Coordinator Shannon Arnold and Living Oceans Society Director Karen Wristen's featured op-ed in The Hill Times. This article sums up out growing concern with the Aquaculture Act's development process over the past two years, attributing the Act's initial mandate to streamline industry regulations, support aquaculture development and keep provincial jurisdiction intact in Atlantic Canada.