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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins, throwing salmon farming industry into uncertainty

The minister's Liberal party has called for all netpen salmon farms in British Columbia to be transitioned to closed containment systems by 2025 -- a move the industry claims would have devastating impacts.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau eked out a victory over Conservative party opponents in a tight election Monday, throwing up huge question marks around the fate of the British Columbia salmon farming industry.

In a late-stage platform shift, Trudeau's Liberal Party issued a document calling for all BC salmon farms to move to closed-containment systems by 2025.

The salmon farming industry's reaction was swift -- and highly negative.

BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) Executive Director John Paul Fraser called the plan "unachievable," and said it would "lead to stagnation and significant unemployment in the British Columbia salmon farming industry."

Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) Executive Director Mark Lane blasted the decision as well.

"This is not founded on science, it is founded on political rhetoric," Lane told IntraFish.

The move may be appealing to some areas outside Atlantic Canada, Lane said, but it was "an insult to farmers in an industry poised to grow. It would be like going to Norway and telling them to shut down in six years. They would laugh at you."

Lane noted the industry currently provides 16,000 full-time jobs among Canada and generates over CDN$5 billion ($3.7 billion/€3.5 billion) in economic activity.

The Liberal Party's move was viewed by industry as a cynical last-ditch grab for voters that may have been swayed away by the more left-leaning Green Party. The Liberal salmon farming plan, in fact, largely echoed one previously released by the Green Party.

Responding to IntraFish on the news of Trudeau's re-election Tuesday morning, Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of salmon giant Mowi, said he was sure that the Trudeau would change his mind on the ban.

Andreas Kvame, CEO of fellow salmon producer Grieg, agreed, telling IntraFish that it remains to be seen whether the ban would actually come into play.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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