General News · 22nd December 2017
During last spring's Gorge Harbour Stakeholders' meeting, the writing of an aquaculture industry standard was identified as a key next step. Shellfish operators in the Gorge believe themselves to be adhering to a higher bar than other global operators and therefore want to codify their practices. To this end, most of the growers met recently with an aquaculture specialist from the Ministry of Agriculture to begin this process of writing a Gorge-specific, industry standard that they would then commit to implementing.
Although the Regional District is still involved in zoning the siting of aquaculture activity, we are working to simplify our zoning bylaws to regulate only things such as the type of allowable structures and setbacks. The BC Farm Industry Review Board (BCFIRB) who deals with farm practice complaints, is now the appropriate body to regulate farm operations. Even though aquaculture now qualifies as a farm practices under BCFIRB’s administrative mandate, there are few written industry standards that could be used as a benchmark to assist in determining what is considered an allowable normal farm practice. In reviewing a future or present complaint in the Gorge, BCFIRB would consider these new best practices now being developed in their review. Some seed funds have been offered and further funds are being sought through the Province to support writing these Gorge-specific standards. The full Gorge Harbour Stakeholders group will convene again when there is more to report on from this effort.