The report lists sea lice as one of the biggest problems and accuses the salmon farming industry in Scotland “of precipitating an environmental disaster” and calls on government for the immediate implementation of a survival plan to save wild stocks.
Meanwhile, while visiting BC Norwegian CEO of Mainstream (Cermaq) Mr. Geir Isaksen said that there is “no validity” in the research on sea lice and that we should all work together. He does not suggest that Mainstream release disease information however.
"I feel some of the arguments they use are not really real… for instance it’s been a long debate on sea lice and the impact of sea lice on the migrating smolts on this area…. And in my view it seems at least that some of the arguments used against fish farming are not verified in this research," Isaksen said.
Last week I attended a meeting on the Fraser River sockeye and saw a graph depicting productivity of the different sockeye runs within the Fraser. All but one started into accelerating decline in the early 1990s. During this time period the % taken by the commercial fishing has been steadily cut back. If fishing was the driving problem, fish numbers should have increased as fishing decreased. The one run that is producing more and more fish per spawner is the Harrison and a recent DFO study found that while most juvenile Fraser sockeye travel north past 60 fish farms, the Harrison go south around southern Vancouver Island and do not encounter salmon farms.
In Ottawa, Mr. Trevor Swerdfager, Director General for Aquaculture DFO is telling our Federal Standing Committee on Aquaculture is saying there is no evidence of fish farms negatively affecting wild salmon populations.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs rejected Mr. Swerdfager’s Aquaculture Regulation Strategic Plan in an open letter to Minister of Fisheries Shea “because it does not meet Canada’s legal and constitutional obligations to First Nations.”
The Intertribal Treaty Organization put out a press release on March 11, 2010:
“During the March 9-10, 2010 inaugural AGA of the Intertribal Treaty Organization (ITO) held in Prince George, attending Chiefs voted unanimously to support Indigenous Nations of the Broughton Archipelago and Georgia Straits for the immediate removal of fish farms from their territories to support in the survival of Fraser River bound fish stocks.”
The Town of Tahsis also wrote to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans asking for the fish farms near them to be removed:
“In conclusion, Tahsis needs to protect not just the wild salmon but its own economic interests. After the closure of our sawmill and subsequent collapse of our local logging industry, we need to look after what we have left for our economic survival. With that in mind, we ask that the federal government close the open containment fish farms in Nootka Sound. While this may negatively impact the local fish farm industry, we have proposed to them that they relocate to Tahsis and build land-based, closed containment facilities here. We are willing to work with them to find a solution that is mutually beneficial to all.”
I still have not receive any explanation from the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on why their own graphs and statements do not appear in agreement on the issue of drug-resistant sea lice in Nootka area.
March 22, 2010, Trevor Swerdfager told the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
“We have absolutely no evidence of that (Slice resistance) whatsoever in British Columbia. We know that this is one of the latest suggestions that has come forward. We have looked into that situation, which has been profiled frequently on the web. But it’s not just that.”
While Mr. Swerdfager says they looked into the situation it would be good to know what he found. These lice have now spread to the wild chum salmon heading to sea, pictures: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/
Perhaps you can understand why I feel it is time to stand up and be counted. There are solutions. This is a mess brought on by very poor leadership they need direction.
Thank you for reading,