Idea for bill came from Victoria student

OTTAWA – Today, New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam) moved to protect British Columbia’s wild salmon by strengthening the Fisheries Act to require fish farms operating on BC's coast to make the transition to closed containment systems.

Bill C-518 directs the Federal Fisheries Minister to develop, table and implement a transition plan, outlining how fish farm operations will make the move. The plan will also ensure that those currently working in the industry will be protected during the transition.

"New Democrats believe environmental protection not only can, but must coexist with economic prosperity," says Donnelly. "British Columbia's and indeed Canada’s well-being depends on it."

The idea for the bill came to Donnelly through his colleague Denise Savoie, NDP MP for Victoria, who held a ‘Create Your Canada’ contest late last year. The winning entry came from grade ten Glenlyon Norfolk School student Thea Block.

"I was thrilled when Thea's idea to move to closed containment was selected," says Savoie. "Her story is so powerful. She's very passionate about protecting wild salmon."

For the past few summers, Block has worked on a fish boat with her Dad. They run a small fishing operation on Cortes Island that relies on healthy, wild salmon.

"Last summer I fished for wild salmon with my Dad," said Block. "I want us and future generations to be able to do what my family is doing. I don't want it spoiled because we didn't take steps to protect our wild salmon. That's why I entered my idea for closed containment in the contest."

Amending the Fisheries Act and moving to closed containment is a step toward ensuring our wild salmon will remain healthy for generations to come.

“This is a great first step,” said Donnelly. “I felt extremely proud to introduce this bill today knowing that it came from Thea. Hopefully, through her actions, and those of other young Canadians, we can protect our wild salmon for generations.”

- 30 -