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In the newly published Marine Policy paper 'Regulating the Blue Economy? Challenges to an Effective Canadian Aquaculture Act', Drs. Melanie Wiber, Charles Mather, Christine Knott and María Andrée López Gómez identify three key challenges to the establishment of a national aquaculture act in Canada and examine the likely impact of these challenges to the future shape and direction of aquaculture regulation, with implications that extend beyond Canada. 

A renewed focus on regulating aquaculture

Did you know that there is no single piece of legislation governing the marine-based aquaculture industry in Canada? According to the authors, the potential role of aquaculture in Canada’s Blue Economy strategy has injected new urgency into drafting national legislation to regulate the country’s aquaculture sector. This renewed focus on national aquaculture legislation is supported by industry who expect that an aquaculture act will lead to streamlined regulation and state support for aquaculture production and development, but also by environmental non-governmental organizations who seek stronger regulatory governance over an industry that has a long history of socio-ecological conflicts. 


Although the expectation is that blue growth strategies are guided by effective state regulatory mechanisms, backed up by strong and independent science and effective public participation, the authors caution that issues in governance, at the science-management interface, and in meeting Indigenous demands could potentially hamper the achievement of a sustainable aquaculture sector if not addressed. They also critically reflect on the potential implications of a weak act, one that will not overcome the ongoing socio-ecological conflicts associated with aquaculture in Canada and elsewhere. They pose that "the most likely outcome will be for these conflicts and demands to be resolved in the courts, which will provide a new critical area for social science research on marine policy".

By 'Fishy Feminist', July 30, 2021

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