BC Government Passes Bill 48 Despite Strong Opposition

October 21, 2003

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C.– It is outrageous that the provincial government has passed Bill 48, which allows cabinet ministers to override local government decisions that restrict fish farming in their communities, the Georgia Strait Alliance said today.

“Over 600 of our members sent letters to the BC government opposing this move, and we know many other people spoke up as well,” said Suzanne Connell, Georgia Strait Alliance’s aquaculture coordinator.

“In addition, the Union of BC Municipalities expressed unanimous support for a resolution calling on the province to withdraw Bill 48,” she added. “By passing this Bill in the face of such clear opposition, the provincial government has effectively thumbed its nose at the public and at local governments.”

Bill 48 allows the province to designate coastal waters as farming areas where the Right to Farm Act will apply. “The bottom line,” says Connell, “is that this Bill gives the aquaculture industry protection against local bylaws and nuisance suits, and removes the right of local governments to restrict fish farming practices they consider inappropriate.”

The Georgia Strait Alliance is a marine conservation organization that works to protect and restore Georgia Strait and its adjoining waters. The group is a member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), – a coalition of conservation and First Nations groups working to reform the salmon farming industry.