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B.C. Indigenous leaders lobby for transition from open-net salmon farms

An alliance of British Columbia Indigenous leaders is calling on the federal government to stand firm on plans to transition away from open-net salmon farms in B.C. waters by 2025.

Chiefs from across the province are in Ottawa for meetings with federal officials, including Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier (dih-YAN' lih-boo-TIL'-yay.)

Bob Chamberlin, chair of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, says they told the minister that most B.C. First Nations want the transition.

But Chamberlin acknowledges support for the plan isn't unanimous among Indigenous people in the province, where about a dozen First Nations are involved in the salmon farming industry.

Lebouthillier wasn't immediately available for comment.

The B.C. Salmon Farming industry says any debate about the future of salmon farms must include the perspectives of Indigenous people who operate fish farms on their territories.

Open-net fish farms off B.C.'s coast are a long-running subject of debate, with opponents saying the farms are linked to the transfer of disease to wild salmon, while supporters say thousands of jobs are threatened if the operations are phased out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2023. Top Stories

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