Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has put out a notice of $123 million dedicated to buying back Pacific salmon commercial fishing licenses from harvesters who want out of the industry. The effort would also help protect dwindling stocks of fish.
The funds are part of an almost $650 million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative announced by the government agency last year. In mid-December, the Canadian Press news agency reported that 1,300 licenses would be eligible to participate in a deal to purchase the licenses at the market rate, then remove them from circulation.
DFO plans numerous rounds of commercial license retirement, with the first round to assist license holders who have said they wish to leave the industry immediately. The application deadline is Feb. 28.
According to Fisheries and Oceans, many salmon stocks are declining to historic lows due to climate change, habitat loss, and other adverse impacts on Pacific salmon.
The buyback plan came on the heels of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans announcement in late June of 2022 of plans for a two-year renewal of licenses for marine finfish aquaculture facilities outside of British Columbia’s Discovery Islands.
DFO officials noted in a news release the impact of that decision was part of a planned transition from open-net pen salmon aquaculture in British Columbia.
Canada’s Liberal Party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have called for a shift from open-net pen fish farming by 2025.