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UBC Theses and Dissertations

History and evolution of salmon aquaculture siting policy in British Columbia Galland, Daniel

Abstract

Salmon aquaculture is the rearing of salmonids for commercial purposes. These practices are typically carried out in saltwater farms located in coastal waters. The process of siting these facilities requires identifying and selecting areas that are economically, socially and environmentally suitable to locate them. Siting salmon aquaculture facilities has become a controversial resource management issue in British Columbia (B.C.), where distance-based criteria ultimately determine the location of these facilities. This thesis focuses on providing insights and concepts to inform and examine the salmon aquaculture facility siting process in B.C. It is argued that regulatory processes and outcomes in the context of a new industry could respond to mechanisms and factors that shape governmental agendas, illustrating how policy can behave reactively rather than in a precautionary manner. In this case, the outcomes of such reactive policies are reflected in siting criteria that yield implicit environmental and socio-economic disadvantages and tradeoffs. This way, siting criteria derive from expert judgements based on best available information while their associated uncertainties may lead to consider less-desirable sites while underestimating or overestimating risks, and overlooking important regional objectives, cumulative impacts and stakeholder values. The thesis further suggests that the future evolution of the salmon aquaculture facility siting process in B.C. could benefit from siting processes that have already been developed and implemented by other sectors. Different lines of reasoning that deal with processes of public negotiation, analytical decision-making and a systems' approach are explored as ways by which the salmon aquaculture facility siting process could evolve in the future toward creating more comprehensive policy.

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