Veteran aquaculture industry expert named as interim executive director of BC Salmon Farmers Association.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) has announced that its executive director, John Paul Fraser, is stepping down.
Veteran industry expert, Ruth Salmon, who is currently BCSFA’s senior advisor, will be moving into the role of interim executive director for the next six months. Salmon, was the former executive director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) for ten years, and member of the BCSFA team since 2018.
“We are very grateful for the hard work, dedication, and commitment John has given us and he will be deeply missed, but despite John’s departure the Association is in excellent hands moving forward,” said BCSFA spokesperson, Michelle Franze, in a letter to association members.
The next six months is critical for our sector, as the reissuance of the 79 licences and tenures set to expire this June, will define the future of our industry, said Franze.
“Over the next six months, our focus at the Association will be to mobilize a coordinated effort with the clear objective of supportive licence reissuance decisions. The reissuance not only impacts producing companies, but many of you as supplier and service companies,” she said.
The BCSFA represents 70 businesses and organizations throughout the value chain of finfish aquaculture in British Columbia, which support about 6,500 full-time, year round jobs in the province.
Consistently ranked as the 4th largest farmed Atlantic salmon producer in the world, farmed salmon continues to be BC’s most valuable seafood export with a 12 per cent share of total agrifood and seafood provincial export sales.
However, bowing to the demands of anti-fish farm activists, the federal Liberals have planned to transition all open-net salmon farms, despite its own government scientists saying that the maritime operations have less than a minimal impact on wild stocks.
In addition to the phase out of salmon farms in the Discovery islands and the Broughton Archipelago, scores of federal salmon farming permits are set to expire next June in British Columbia.
The activists are pushing the government not to renew any of the permits.
The Discovery Island’s decision will have a devastating economic fallout and see BC losing almost $390 million in annual economic output with $87 million less in annual salaries and benefits, and 1,535 fewer job, according to an independent analysis.
The BC salmon farmers are awaiting a judicial review of the Discovery Islands’ decision.
(Supplied image of Ruth Salmon, the interim executive director of the BCSFA)