Transcript: August 30, 2011 Hearing Transcript


Aquaculture Regulatory Panel 1 was cross-examined today on subjects that included siting, licensing, consultation, and adequacy of regulations. Various licence requirements and regulations were discussed, as well as the transfer of regulatory jurisdiction of aquaculture from the province to the federal government.

The questioning of Regulatory Panel 1 included discussion about:

  • The organizational structure of aquaculture operations within DFO.
  • Whether DFO can do two things at once; promote the aquaculture industry and conserve wild fish and ecosystems.
  • Siting criteria of new salmon farms and in particular the criteria whereby salmon farms should be located at least 1 km from the mouth of a salmonid-bearing stream determined as significant. An expert on Norway farming suggested this distance may be arbitrary.
  • Siting criteria have not changed significantly during the transition of regulatory jurisdiction from the province to the federal government.
  • Public reporting of regulatory information under the BC Aquaculture regime. Mr. Swerdfager said all relevant information will be published except things of a private nature such as telephone numbers, names, etc.
  • DFO and its intention to not authorize new marine finfish aquaculture operations until the Cohen Commission recommendations are released.
  • An independent audit of the BC open net aquaculture regulatory framework produced by Gareth Porter which rated BC below Norway, Iceland and other jurisdictions.
  • Some areas in Norway called wild salmon fjords in which farms are excluded as a precautionary measure.
  • Whether BC should consider that open net aquaculture be excluded from the Wild Salmon Narrows in the Discovery Islands. Up until now, BC has had no plans for such precautionary zoning.
  • Whether disease has ever been considered in siting salmon farms. Mr. Last representing the province and Mr. Swerdfager representing DFO could not cite an example where disease was considered.
  • DFO outreach and marketing to USA retailers regarding aquaculture and seafood and the budgets associated with that work.
  • In 2008, DFO strategy around suggesting to USA senators that the agency had no evidence based on experimental lab work that sea lice have a negative effect on juvenile pink salmon.
  • A DFO National Aquaculture Communications and Outreach Approach which was produced by a consultant based in Halifax.
  • Iceland, which has attempted to minimize risks to wild stocks and protect valuable recreational fisheries by excluding open nets from many coastal areas.


Witnesses – Aquaculture:

  • Dr. Ian Fleming – Professor, Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Gavin Last – formerly Assistant Director, Aquaculture Branch, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
  • Trevor Swerdfager – formerly Director General, Aquaculture Management Directorate, DFO (NHQ)
  • Andrew Thomson – Director, Aquaculture Management Directorate, DFO (Pacific Region)


See evidentiary documents page for a listing of key exhibits discussed at the hearings.

News Coverage resulting from August 30th Cohen hearings: List is updated as additional media is published.