Food Systems

UBCM monitors a number of fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture policy files. Concerning fisheries, UBCM engages with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on the following: the management, conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat; development of a new Aquaculture Act; and the transition of open-net pen aquaculture to closed containment operations by 2025. In cooperation with the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, UBCM has been engaging with DFO to discuss what the transition away from open-net pens will look like for affected communities.

Agriculture sector focus areas include: the impact of climate change on the viability of the sector; changes to Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission policies and regulations; growth and development encroaching on viable farmland; transitioning retiring farmers and mentoring new farmers; and how to better support the sector.


In the follow-up to Phases 1 and 2 of engagement on the open-net pen transition, DFO released a What We Heard Report, summarizing feedback from a variety of interests. Feedback representing specific local government perspectives is available in the report.

In June 2023, the federal government announced that it would delay its decision on the planned transition of open-net pen salmon farms, extending the consultation period until the end of the summer, with a transition decision coming at a later unannounced date.

Coastal Marine Strategy

In December 2022, the Province released its Coastal Marine Strategy Policy Intentions Paper, a first step toward the development of a Coastal Marine Strategy for BC. It presented outcomes and policy intentions for consideration, as well as a vision for protecting the ecological, cultural, and economic benefits provided by the coastal marine environment, and was informed by First Nations knowledge, western science, existing planning and technical documents, and Provincial staff.

Through the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, the provincial government engaged broadly with industry, Indigenous governments, local governments, and other interested parties. This engagement took place over the first half of 2023 and included webinars, written submissions, an in-person policy forum, and open houses.

A consultant, under the direction of the provincial Coastal Marine Strategy team and respective First Nations, will turn the feedback on the policy intentions and outcomes into a draft strategy for internal government review, with provincial decisions on a Coastal Marine Strategy expected in 2024.