VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C- The majority of BC’s fish processing facilities are not following the rules.   

On July 4th of this year, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy released the results of an audit they conducted on facilities across BC.  

The audit, which investigated all of the province’s 30 authorized plants, concluded that 72% of them were out of compliance with their permits.  

According to a statement from the ministry, the majority of non-compliances were administrative, such as failing to post signage.

However, a number of those infractions carry more serious implications.

The release said that some processing plants were exceeding the volumes and quality of liquid waste (effluent) discharged into the ocean than allowed by their permits.

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said the results have prompted the government to strengthen requirements for fish processing operations.

“This audit clearly tells us more work needs to be done to ensure our coastal waterways are safe for all wild fish stocks,” he said.  

“The industry has been largely operating under an outdated permitting regime, going back several decades. We are taking immediate steps to ensure permits are updated and strengthened at fish processing facilities throughout B.C.”

The ministry has made several recommendations to the province, including changing existing permits to include more environmental protections, and more vigorous discharge requirements.  

The ministry also wants facilities to reduce the amount of effluent being discharged into the ocean, and recommends that they be required to review and update their procedures to do so.  

According to the statement, the ministry has already begun the process of pumping up requirements, and the largest facilities are the priority.