VICTORIA, B.C- Some fish farms in the North Island will be closing down in the near future.

An agreement announced today by the province and industry will mean the closure of ten farms in the short term.

Premier John Horgan said the agreement with First Nations and industry contains long term, mid term and short term goals.

“The plan that we are announcing today will mean the closure of ten farms over the short term that will create that safe migratory route, that corridor for young salmon that was mandated by the Cohen Commission. It will set in place a requirement for existing farms to put more production in the water only with the agreement with the Indigenous communities.”

The agreement overall will create an orderly transition of 17 farms, operated by Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada, from the Broughton area between 2019 and 2023.

It will establish a farm-free migration corridor in the Broughton in the short term to help reduce harm to wild salmon and develop a First Nations-led monitoring and inspection program.

Both Marine Harvest and Cermaq have issued press releases in conjunction with the announcement.

Cermaq has said they will be closing down their Cliff Bay farm and their Burdwood farm, which are both located near important migration routes for wild salmon.

As for Marine Harvest, the company has said they’ll continue to invest in their employees and equipment, with “no changes to employment at this time”.

“Marine Harvest Canada understands that this agreed to plan is not an expression of First Nations’ consent to our operations during the transition period of 2018 to 2023 in the Broughton Area,” read the company’s statement.

“However, the jointly endorsed plan provides important business certainty that will allow the company to focus on growing healthy fish and engaging communities in a meaningful way.”

The company will be withdrawing their tenure replacement applications for Arrow Passage and Glacier Falls, and also intends to relinquish their tenue at Potts Bay.

“To meet the planed transition and maintain the company’s annual harvest volume over time, Marine Harvest Canada will need to apply for, and have approved, a number of license and tenure amendments to shift production from sites that will be decommissioned to other sites,” read their statement.

“Marine Harvest Canada also intends to seek out new salmon farming sites where there is First Nations interest and consent.”

-with files from Sharon Vanhouwe