Canada's NDP


October 2nd, 2020

NDP MP Gord Johns calls for Liberals to end DFO’s mandate to promote aquaculture

OTTAWA – Gord Johns, NDP Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, is calling on the Liberal government to keep their promise to implement the recommendations of the Cohen Commission.

During Question Period on Friday, Johns called on the Liberals to do the right thing for Pacific wild salmon and end the promotion of aquaculture from DFO’s mandate because it is in conflict with the departments fundamental responsibility to protect wild stocks. This comes after Minister Bernadette Jordan’s decision to keep the salmon farms around the Discovery Islands open, pending consultation with local First Nations.

"The Minister can’t both promote open-net salmon farms and claim to be a protector of Pacific wild salmon,” said Johns. “By choosing to defend these farms, the Minister is ignoring local Indigenous knowledge and the Cohen Commission – a $36 million scientific study.”

The Cohen Commission recommended that the Minister decide by September 30, 2020 that these farms should be closed if the farms pose more than a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating sockeye salmon. Prior to the decision, 101 First Nations called for their closure based on independent, peer-reviewed science.

Johns highlighted recommendation number 3, which calls for the Government of Canada to remove DFO’s mandate to promote salmon farming as an industry and farmed salmon as a product.

“This government has had five years to restore trust with coastal British Columbians, but there actions don’t show they are committed to protecting salmon,” said Johns. “They must keep their election promise and remove the promotion of open-net fish farms from DFO’s mandate.”