On March 3, 2021 the BCSGA launched its SHEP initiative. SHEP is a BCSGA led initiative aimed at improving the environmental performance of the membership. SHEP is needed because despite the best efforts of DFO, FLNRORD and the BCSGA, debris from shellfish farms continues to be an issue. This debris has a significant environmental impact and is a considerable irritant to our neighbours. The Board of Directors estimates that 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 objectives with respect to these three issues are laid out in the self-assessment form. In the form, farmers are asked to describe their current practices, the degree to which they are achieving the objectives, and if not conforming, their plan for becoming compliant. Farmers are also asked if and what assistance they may need to become compliant. The self-assessment is straightforward and should only take a few moments to complete. One self assessment form needs to be completed for each Land File number. The deadline for return of completed self-assessments is April 30, 2021.
The aim is to achieve near 100% compliance with these 3 key environmental objectives. Independent audits undertaken in the fall of 2023 would determine whether farmers were compliant. Members that achieve compliance will receive a special designation from the Association that could be used in marketing. Members that do not participate or are found in 2023 to be non-compliant would 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 would like to thank-members in advance for their cooperation with this important initiative.