October 24, 2013: What happened to Justice Bruce Cohen's 75 carefully crafted recommendations to rebuild Pacific salmon? What will happen to the industry and communities that depend on them? Please read more by clicking on title
Please read more by clicking on title.
"The government is totally rewriting the habitat protection provisions of Section 35(1) so as to remove habitat protection out of the Fisheries Act," Please read more by clicking on title.
Keep fish habitat protection explicit in Canada’s Fisheries Act
If you take away fish habitat protection, how do you protect fish?
Fish need habitat to survive. And healthy fish populations reflect healthy ecosystems, which benefit all Canadians.
These truths are obvious. But if draft changes to Canada’s Fisheries Act are accepted as part of the upcoming Omnibus Budget Bill, fish habitat would no longer have the level of federal protection it has now.
The Fisheries Act now allows the Fisheries Minister to authorize destruction of fish habitat, but only after an Environmental Assessment has been done.
This week, Canada’s Fisheries Act could be compromised.
On March 29, the Federal Conservative’s Budget Omnibus Bill is expected to come before Parliament.
Leaked information suggests changes to the Fisheries Act may be tacked onto this bill.
The biggest change?
Removing fish habitat protection.
What can we do about it?
Last week, the BC Wildlife Federation, with 38,000 members, came out strongly against the proposed changes.
Other groups are following suit, as are individuals across Canada.
We want to give you the opportunity to write to the Federal government if you feel Canadians should have a say in what, if any, changes are made to Canada’s oldest legislation, the Fisheries Act.
We believe that any changes to the Federal Fisheries Act, specifically to the habitat protection aspects such as Section 35(1), must have full public consultation before being made.
Click for e-mail input form
Want wild salmon? Take action
Your voice matters more than ever before the BC election is over.
1. Call or email your MLA candidates & party leaders ask them to protect & restore BC's wild salmon economy by removing salmon farms from the wild salmon routes. Visit SalmonConfidential.ca for links to your MLA contact info.
2. Watch the film and share with your friends which is online at SalmonConfidential.ca
3. Write letters to the editor of local papers.
4. Boycott feedlot salmon.
Being on the stand at the Cohen Commission was a depressing experience. Salmon were not on the minds of the lawyers for the Province of BC and Canada. Mr. Taylor, lawyer for Canada, Mr Prowse for BC and Mr Blair for the BC Salmon Farmers objected to the 60-page report I wrote that pulled together what DFO said, and what the province of BC found about the relationship between salmon farms and the Fraser sockeye. As part of the "Aquaculture Coalition" this is what the Commission expected of me. Please read more by clicking on title.
The CFIA and the federal and provincial government turned 6 ISA virus positive tests into negatives, because they were apparently unable to reproduce the results.
Please help Alexandra Morton save the wild salmon
Alexandra works to conserve and protect wild salmon species on the Pacific Coast from the threats posed by fish farming. She was primarily responsible for the successful court case that found fish farming was ENTIRELY the responsibility of the federal Department of Fisheries, not the province. The current schedule has the province turning over all responsibility in February.
She needs your help with repeated writing to your MP; Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Stephen Harper to eliminate fish farms, because they have depleted natural fish stocks in Norway, Ireland and Scotland as well as in Canada.
For those that find writing letters is hard work or don't have time to be creative at the present, please go to ComFish Action for four predefined letters.
Member of Parliament for Nanaimo Alberni Riding
The Honourable Dr. James Lunney MP
6-6894 Island Hwy N,
Nanaimo, BC V9V 1P6
Phone 1-866-390-7550, Fax 250-390-7551
If you are uncertain your Canadian Federal political representative information, find your member on the Members of Parliament list and click on the members name for contact details.
Hon. Gail Shea
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6
Telephone: (902) 432-6899
The Right Honourable Steven Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0A2
For those that find writing letters is hard work or don't have time to be creative at the present, please go to ComFish Action for four predefined letters to support the wild salmon.
Morton fills Civic Centre
Brad Bird, Oceanside Star
Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Close to 600 people packed the main hall in the Civic Centre Saturday to hear and see the leader of the fight to save wild salmon, Alexandra Morton. And she didn't disappoint.
Inspired perhaps by the standing ovation she got in the Qualicum Beach facility before she even began, Morton delivered a strongly worded indictment of the effects fish farms are having on wild salmon stocks in B.C. and the world over.
But she had good news for most of those present, saying the farms - which spread fish-killing lice and disease - contain the seeds of their own destruction. "The fish farms themselves are killing themselves off," she said. "They're shutting themselves down."
It would be nice if fish farms and wild salmon could co-exist, she said, for the sake of the people working the farms, but the science shows it can't be done. The wild salmon, which she called the lifeblood of the west coast, won't survive unless open-net farms cease to operate.
Closed-containment farming on land can work, in her view. The winner of a recent court case which wrested authority over fish farms out of provincial hands and placed it in federal jurisdiction, the author of five books and seven papers, Morton said an "enormous army" of people have taken up the cause of wild salmon and made the difference, and "their very biology depends on us now."
She urged people to write their MPs relentlessly to oppose fish farms, which have depleted natural fish stocks in Norway, Ireland and Scotland as well as in Canada. The legal victory, which cost $100,000, is just another step on the way, she said. "It's really now or never. This is not a dress rehearsal. These (wild) fish are going down," she said. "But we can turn it around."
Morton lives in Echo Bay in the Broughton Archipelago, near Port McNeill, surrounded by about 22 fish farms which she has documented are harming wild salmon stocks. Her home has become a stopping point for various marine researchers. She raised her children there and has lived in that wilderness setting since about 1980.
She began her talk by saying how some people suggest she is on a crusade. Others say she has a vendetta against the industry. "No," she tells them, she's just "a woman cleaning house." The power to change things isn't really with government, she said, but with each of us.
"The power of one is all we have, but we all have it." Speakers in support included Rafe Mair and local commercial fisherman Paul Kershaw. Mair said the anti-farming movement is on a roll, thanks to Morton's leadership. He called her a "great Canadian and a great person."
"We are now fighting to preserve the legacy (of wild salmon) and our children's inheritance," Mair said.
Kershaw said commercial fishing dries up wherever fish farms operate. Before the meeting, he wondered if people in Oceanside really cared about wild salmon and thought perhaps 100 people would show up. Almost 600 did.
"I'm so proud of Qualicum Beach right now," Kershaw said. Sandy Robinson, of Friends of French Creek Conservation Society, said he was pleased by Morton's speech. "It makes me angry, what is going on and what should happen and what has happened," he said.
Dry-land containment farming must replace the netted containers in the ocean, he said. Others were also impressed. "It was very good," said Alan Deines. "Excellent," said Sharon, his wife. Politicians present included the NDP's Scott Fraser, Leanne Salter and Zeni Maartman. Barry Avis of Qualicum Beach was also there.
It was standing room only as people gathered around the perimeter of the large hall, which had more than 500 chairs out, an official said.
The mandate of the Coalition for Strong Communities is to provide opportunities in a non-partisan way for the public to have the information they need to make informed decisions. The objective of the Parks Council is to promote and protect wild and green places. Susan Croskery of the Coalition said the volunteers of both groups work diligently to provide such events in Oceanside.
© Oceanside Star 2010
The Coalition will end up spending more than planned because a second portion of the large hall was opened to accommodate the crowd, she said.
The below link is a good site to visit to look at background videos on Alexandra Morton's research. Please also sign the petition at this site.
Alexandra Moton fights to Save Wild Salmon
Jan. 5, 2010 was the latest court date in the charges I laid under the Fisheries Act against Marine Harvest Canada for unlawful possession of wild salmon by-catch. Generally, when a member of the public witnesses a potential violation of the Fisheries Act, they simply report it to the federal fisheries (DFO) who does the investigation and lays a charge if they have the evidence. DFO asks the public to help under their Observe, Record, Report campaign. Many people have stepped forward over the years to help DFO successfully enforce the Fisheries Act and conserve our wild fish. I did report the wild salmon that were in the Marine Harvest vessel, Orca Warrior to DFO, they indicated they were investigating, but they never said whether they would lay a charge. So I did to protect the juvenile wild salmon of the Broughton.
At our last court date, a month ago in Port Hardy, the Department of Justice (DOJ - who is next in line after DFO to run this trial indicated they needed more time to investigate the charge. My lawyer, Jeffery Jones and I hope the DOJ will assume conduct and run the prosecution as that is what DOJ's mandate is, and they have the better resources and expertise to do this.
But on Jan. 5, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent an agent, as did Marine Harvest. But my lawyer and I were disappointed to hear that DOJ has refused to make a decision as to whether or not to prosecute. This means that we still don't know if we should conduct the trial ourselves and remain in limbo. It creates uncertainty in the trial process if at any time DOJ can suddenly step in and take over...or not.
However, Judge Saunderson clarified the matter and ordered the DOJ to make a decision within 30 days.
Jeffery Jones, who is working pro bono, also asked for disclosure from DFO and DOJ, because if we are to continue in the government's role as the prosecutor we need the government files on their investigation. Presumably, Marine Harvest would want disclosure from DFO and DOJ as well.
Judge Saunderson adjourned our application for disclosure until after he hears what the DOJ's intention is.
Message from Alexandra Morton in Norway, disease and sea lice are not under control in Norwegian salmon farms and BC stands to lose all
I have been in Norway for 10 days because 92% of fish farming in British Columbia is Norwegian owned. I have met with many Norwegian scientists, members of the Mainstream and Marine Harvest boards, been to their AGMs, toured the area with fishermen, examined a closed-containment facility, met the Norwegians fighting for their fish and joined a scientific cruise.
I thought Norway had this industry handled and I expected to learn how marine salmon farming could work, but this has not been the case. My eyes have really been opened. This industry still has major issues that are growing and has no business expanding throughout the temperate coastlines of the world. The way they have been treating sea lice in Norway has caused high drug resistance. The only solution in sight is increasingly toxic chemicals. In the past two years (2007, 8) sea lice levels have actually increased on both the farm and wild fish. The scientists I met with are holding their breath to see if drug-resistant sea lice populations will explode and attack the last wild salmon and sea trout. The same treatment methods have been used in BC and we can expect this to occur as well.
I am not hearing how the industry can possibly safeguard British Columbia from contamination with their ISA virus. Infectious Salmon Anemia is a salmon virus that is spreading worldwide, wherever there are salmon farms. In Chile, the Norwegian strain of ISA has destroyed 60% of the industry, 17,000 jobs and unmeasured environmental damage. The industry is pushing into new territory. If this gets to BC no one can predict what it will do to the Pacific salmon and steelhead, it will be unleashed into new habitat and we know this is a very serious threat to life.
Professor Are Nylund head of the Fish Diseases Group at the University of Bergen, Norway, reports that, “based on 20 years of experience, I can guarantee that if British Columbia continues to import salmon eggs from the eastern Atlantic infectious salmon diseases, such as ISA, will arrive in Western Canada. Here in Hardangerfjord we have sacrificed our wild salmon stocks in exchange for farm salmon. With all your 5 species of wild salmon, BC is the last place you should have salmon farms.”
New diseases and parasites are being identified. The most serious is a sea lice parasite that attacks the salmon immune system. There is concern that this new parasite is responsible for accelerating wild salmon declines. The Norwegian scientists agree with many of us in BC. If you want wild salmon you must reduce the number of farm salmon. There are three options.
The future for salmon farming will have to include:
- permanently reduction of not just the number of sea lice, but also the number of farm salmon per fjord,
- removing farm salmon for periods of time to delouse the fjords and not restocking until after the out-migration of the wild salmon and sea trout.
- But where wild salmon are considered essential they say the only certain measure is to remove the farms completely.
There are many people here like me. I met a man who has devoted his life to the science of restoring the Voss River, where the largest Atlantic salmon in the world, a national treasure, have vanished due to sea lice from salmon farms. Interestingly he is using the method I was not allowed to use last spring... Towing the fish past the farms out to sea. Another man is working with scientists and communities to keep the sea trout of the Hardangerfjord alive. There are so many tragic stories familiar to British Columbia.
The corporate fish farmers are unrelenting in their push to expand. With Chile so highly contaminated with the Norwegian strain of ISA all fish farmed coasts including Norway are threatened with expansion. I made the best case I could to Mainstream and Marine Harvest for removing the salmon feedlots from our wild salmon migration routes, but they will not accept that they are harming wild salmon. They say they want to improve, but they don’t say how. Norway has different social policies which include encouraging people to populate the remote areas and so fish farming seemed a good opportunity to these people. BC has the opposite policy, but the line that fish farms are good for small coastal communities has been used in BC anyway. I have not seen any evidence that it has even replaced the jobs it has impacted in wild fisheries and tourism.
It is becoming increasingly clear to protect wild Pacific salmon from the virus ISA the BC border absolutely has to be closed to importation of salmon eggs immediately and salmon farms MUST be removed from the Fraser River migration routes and any other narrow waterways where wild salmon are considered valuable.
Our letter asking government that the Fisheries Act, which is the law in Canada be applied to protect our salmon from fish farms has been signed by 14,000 people to date at www.adopt-a-fry.org has still not been answered.
Please forward this letter and encourage more people to sign our letter to government as it is building a community of concerned people word wide and we will prevail as there is really no rock for this industry to hide under and longer.
Moratorium on the expansion of BC Salmon Farms
Today BC Supreme Court ruled in our favor once again. Justice Hinkson granted the federal government a suspension order until December 18, 2010 so that Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) can further prepare to assume control of regulating salmon farms. However, Justice Hinkson forbade any expansion of aquaculture during that period. Specifically, the province cannot issue any new fish farm licences and cannot expand the size of any tenure. He recognized the First Nation interest in this matter by granting the Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk Tribal Council intervenor status, which is essential as this case is based in their territory.
On the matter pursued by Marine Harvest at the Court of Appeal and sent back to Justice Hinkson to reconsider (that is whether the fish in the farms are privately owned by the companies and whether the Farm Practices Protection Act (FPPA) is still in force), Hinkson confirmed that the FPPA, will no longer apply to finfish aquaculture and thus no longer protect farms from nuisance claims.
On the question, does Marine Harvest own the fish in their pens? Justice Hinkson found that this was not the place for this decision. Marine Harvest will have to bring this before the courts themselves. For now, we know that the aquaculture fish are now part of the fisheries of Canada.
Today’s decision is met by the unrelated announcement by US box store chain “Target” that they have eliminated all farmed salmon from its fresh, frozen, and smoked seafood offerings in its stores across the United States, because of farm salmon environmental impact on native salmon.
There is an enormous amount of work ahead to translate any of this into better survival of our wild salmon, but the courts seem consistently interested in bringing reason, the constitution and the law to bear on the Norwegian fish farm industry in British Columbia.
While I am truly sorry that jobs will be lost in ocean fish farming, bear in mind the industry is in deep trouble with mother nature herself in the fish farming strongholds of Chile and Norway. Trying to hold this nomadic fish in pens is never going to work, because it causes epidemics, unnatural sea lice infestations and drug resistance. Salmon farming is not sustainable and ultimately we are better served by our wild fish.
Additional research arising in the Clayoquot to support Alexandra's work:
Washington researchers present findings of Clayoquot sea lice study
Jennifer Dart, Special to Westerly News
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010
A group of Washington researchers have found sea lice on juvenile wild salmon samples in Clayoquot Sound and the levels they found were higher in close proximity to salmon farms......................
To read more
Other articles on the problems of salmon farning and Alexandra Morton's research
Read about the Chilean experience, where a virus has wiped out most of the salmon farming industry.
We don't know all the factors that affect salmon populations, but science points to a few clear threats, including climate change, overfishing, disease and parasites from open net-cage salmon farms, and habitat destruction. Efforts by the Cohen Commission to understand why Fraser sockeye have declined in recent years are important. But if this is all the inquiry does, it will have failed. Read more by clicking on title.
Dr. Richards confirmed that DFO scientist, Kristi Miller, has indeed found evidence suggesting a virus, potentially Salmon Leukemia, could be having a devastating impact on the Fraser sockeye. Read more by clicking on title.
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