Debris Management Plans (DMP)

It is essential to ensure shellfish aquaculture gear debris does not enter the marine environment. In the DFO Shellfish Aquaculture Conditions of Licence, section 9.3 notes: “The licence holder shall not introduce or cause or allow the introduction of refuse (including but not limited to infrastructure, equipment and materials) into the environment in the course of conducting aquaculture activities.”

Debris management plans are documents describing how a licence holder will prevents the introduction of gear debris into the marine environment. Important considerations include:

  • What gear is on your licence and how will it be labeled?

  • How could it become debris?

  • Where would it end up?

  • What is your procedure for inspections?

  • What is the useful lifespan of gear?

  • How will you dispose of gear at the end of its lifespan?

  • How will you train staff to understand and follow the DMP?

BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) requires shellfish producers to complete a Debris Management Plan to replace their Shellfish Licences of Occupation. The Provincial guidance for debris management plans is available here. This is an example debris management plan and is available here.

Below is a template one could use to fill in the information on the management of debris at their farm.

Shellfish Farm Environmental Plan

The Shellfish Farm Environmental Plan (SHEP) is a BCSGA led initiative aimed at improving our membership’s environmental performance. SHEP is needed because despite the best efforts of DFO, FLNRORD and the BCSGA, debris from shellfish farms continues to be an issue, creating a significant environmental impact and irritating our neighbours.  BCSGA’s Board of Directors estimates it spends 50% of its time dealing with debris related issues.

Under SHEP, members engaged in farming are required to conduct a self-assessment of their farms based on 1) exposed foam floatation 2) non-seabed debris, and 3) wildlife protection measures. Our SHEP form asks farmers to describe their current practices, the degree to which they are achieving their objectives and, if not conforming, their plan for becoming compliant.  Farmers are also asked what assistance they may need to become compliant.  The SHEP self-assessment is straightforward and takes a few moments to complete. 

Note: One self-assessment form should be completed for each Land File number. The deadline for return of completed self-assessments is April 30, 2021.

BCSGA’s aim is to achieve near 100% compliance with these three key environmental objectives.  Independent audits undertaken in the fall of 2023 will determine if farmers are compliant.  Members who are compliance will receive a special designation from BCSGA that could be used in marketing. Members who do not participate or are found in 2023 to be non-compliant will be subject to administrative sanctions, which could include 1) loss of blanket bond coverage, 2) increased membership fees, or 3) ineligibility for BCSGA membership.

Your Executive thanks members in advance for their co-operation with this important initiative.