Mr. Speaker, I am here today because I asked a question on November 17 of the government about when it will finally return our coastal waters to wild salmon, specifically by getting open-net fish farms out of the water. The evidence is clear that these fish farms are polluting and destroying marine ecosystems and livelihoods, yet the Liberal government continues to prop up rich Norwegian CEOs, who are the owners of these fish farms, and allow them to continue on with business as usual while destroying marine life and the future of wild Pacific salmon.
The minister's response, particularly in light of the detrimental consequences on our environment and coastal communities, was beyond inadequate, so I am here today to ask for action.
Last Friday, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and I were invited to and attended a ceremony and meeting on the Tsleil-Waututh first nation's territory, with chiefs and representatives from first nation territories across B.C., including representation from Snuneymuxw, which is found in the riding I represent, Nanaimo—Ladysmith. They were focused on the protection of wild Pacific salmon and were united in their wish to get open-net fish farms out of the water.
In this meeting, the minister and I had the honour of participating in a salmon dance, which, as a side note, is something I will carry with me forever in my memories. It was an honour. Chiefs shared the many ways that first nations and wild salmon are interconnected, not only regarding food security but regarding social, ceremonial and first nations' inherent and constitutionally protected rights to harvest fish and provide for their communities. In fact, 90% of B.C. first nations rely on wild salmon. Despite this, we are seeing historic low returns.
Vital wild salmon are facing many threats, such as the impacts of climate crises, including extreme weather, flooding, heat domes, forest fires and warming waters, and all of this while we are continuing to allow fish farms in our coastal waters to damage our marine ecosystems. We see salmon left to swim through diseases and sea lice found in key migratory routes, which is all spewing from polluting fish farms that are being allowed to maintain and continue business by the government.
We heard from first nations chiefs in this meeting, who spoke to the diseases being carried by fish exposed to the impacts of fish farms. They were being described as glowing and covered in sores and sea lice, which has never been seen before. There are endless examples of impacts, and first nations chiefs across British Columbia described to us impacts on both wild salmon and their coastal communities.
I am wondering if my colleague can provide us with action and the reassurance today that we are going to move away from open-net fish farms and finally follow through with a plan to get them out.