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OPINION: Open-net ban triumph or catastrophe for Indigenous communities? – Ottawa Sun

Jun 26, 2024

Last week, the Canadian government announced its decision to ban open-net pen salmon farming in the coastal waters of British Columbia after the next five years.

This decision follows the 2019 commitment by the Liberal government to transition away from open-net pens to protect the declining wild Pacific salmon populations. While environmental groups have welcomed this move, the aquaculture industry, alongside many Indigenous communities hosting pens, have voiced strong opposition for significant and legitimate reasons.

The announcement, made on June 21 in Vancouver, coincided with National Indigenous Peoples Day, a timing that many view as insensitive to the communities most affected. Ottawa’s decision reflects a lack of empathy toward these communities, exacerbating tensions. Adding to the controversy, iconic Canadian actor William Shatner appeared in a video produced by Ryan Reynolds’ company, condemning open-net pens without providing substantial facts and leading to demands for an apology from Indigenous groups.

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