Efforts to amend Canada’s standards for aquaculture barges underway

The regulatory body overseeing Canada’s marine transportation sector is in the process of amending the Canada Shipping Act 2001 so it could better respond to the needs of the aquaculture industry and other users of maritime vessels.

Transport Canada has started a consultation process that asks industry stakeholders for input on its proposed “alternative option to the design, construction, and safety equipment requirements” for aquaculture barges.

This alternative option “will allow operators to build their vessels in a manner that makes sense for these types of vessels and the conditions under which they operate,” said Transport Canada in an email to SalmonBusiness.

It said this option will take into consideration the fact that aquaculture barges “remain anchored on location for extended periods of time and the fact that they do not suffer from environmental conditions in the same manner as many other types of vessels.”

See also: AKVA sours on the barge business

“Our Canadian aquaculture industry had communicated to us that the Norwegian Standard was an instrument that was relevant to their business, and after looking into its content, Transport Canada drafted the policy with the help of our industry in order to offer that alternative. The policy has been developed for several months and is in its last stage of consultation before being published,” said Véronique Bérube, a manager at Transport Canada.

Tim Kennedy, president and CEO of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, said the industry is working with the government agency “towards a reasonable path forward that provides alignment across Canada and with other producing nations (especially Norway) but also ensures that costs are not unreasonable for Canadian salmon farmers.”

Kennedy however said the industry remains concerned about the costs that the changes might bring. There are also doubts, he said, as to whether the Canadian government has done “the proper analysis to understand the benefits and costs of their proposed changes to the sector.”

““Our barge safety record in Canada is excellent,” he said, he but added: “This discussion is not being integrated into larger policy discussions in Canada. This is especially important during this time of uncertainty for the sector in British Columbia as the government discusses ‘transition’ of BC production and the need for affordable and secure food supply for Canada.”

Transport Canada is taking input on the proposed change until September 22, 2022.

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