Rigorous Government Regulation
The environmental performance of the Canadian aquaculture industry is closely monitored through a rigorous framework of 73 pieces of federal and provincial legislation.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – together with other federal agencies including Environment Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and Health Canada – strictly regulates both the location and the day-to-day operations of all Canadian aquaculture facilities.
All proposed aquaculture developments are subject to an intensive environmental review - including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) - to ensure that the development will not negatively impact ocean and freshwater habitats. Farms can only be sited in areas where water currents provide optimal conditions for fish health and environmental sustainability.
Once farming begins, environmental monitoring of aquaculture sites is conducted on a regular basis. Monitoring involves state-of-the-art computer modeling, water quality sensors, satellite imaging and Geographical Information System technology coupled with sea floor sampling and video recording.
Every aquaculture site must also adhere to a strictly enforced array of provincial statutes, regulations, policies and guidelines. Farms often must comply with numerous municipal, regional district, and First Nations’ land use and development regulatory instruments.
A Responsible Industry
Industry is also taking responsibility for environmental sustainability through the development of Codes of Practice for both finfish and shellfish operations. These Codes are being developed by industry participants, through their associations, to meet or exceed international environment, health and safety standards - and are instilling a high level of producer diligence with respect to the environmental performance of their operations.
Many Canadian aquaculturists are striving to further surpass government environmental standards by implementing internationally recognized Environmental Management programs – where environmental performance is audited by a third party.