VICTORIA - B.C. will not issue new licences and tenures for finfish aquaculture, including salmon farms, on the North Coast while it examines a new approach to managing the controversial industry.

Salmon farms have been blamed for destruction of wild salmon stocks and have drawn ire from environmentalists and First Nations in the province.

Agriculture Minister Pat Bell says the new approach will be developed in collaboration with First Nations to protect the health of wild salmon.

Elmer Derrick of the First Nations Leadership Council Aquaculture Group says the announcement is good news for the survival of coastal ecosystems.

But he says any solutions must ensure that First Nations seeking economic opportunities through aquaculture have help setting up other ventures to strengthen coastal communities.

The order to stop issuing licences and tenures applies to fish farms in tidal waters, not shellfish farms or trout farms in freshwater, and begins about 150 kilometres south of the mouth of the Skeena River.