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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All

Thanks so much for helping with the sea louse situation.

Saturday marks the seventh anniversary of my discovery of sea lice around fish farms and there are some encouraging signs. Sea lice now appear regularly in newspaper comics, there is a sea louse ballad and we have defined, and measured the impact of fish farms on wild salmon. Government has tried a few things and we so now have the solution; simply separate the farm and wild salmon as we have done with wild and farmed birds.

Over one third of BC wild salmon now swim through water that has passed through a fish farm. Wild salmon are one of greatest biological sponsors of our province producing direct and indirect revenue in the billions, bathing them in farm effluent is risky.

This is not about whether to farm, only WHERE to farm, but seven years into sea lice we are at a dangerous stalemate because government refuses go the last mile to separate the wild and industrial fish. This is harming the people who depend on both.

According to the Canadian constitution the oceans are a federal responsibility. Since fish farms are in the ocean they are a federal (DFO) responsibility. In 1988, a DFO biologist reported critical impact of fish farms on wild salmon and herring (Confidential DFO Memo “Some Serious Concerns” August 11,1988). But despite this in 1988 DFO signed fish farms over to the Province in a Memorandum of Understanding based on the premise that there is no impact of fish farms on the ocean. The Province got a new industry to play with and the Feds could sit back, collect the taxes and avoid enforcement costs.

I am challenging this transaction in BC Supreme Court because this is exactly how DFO lost our east coast cod stocks. I know many of the DFO scientists who have taken a stand for wild fish and were/are told to be quiet. There is far less debate over sea lice than the public realizes.

Now 20 years after abdicating responsibility for fish farms DFO has a huge problem. Every month non-government scientists are publishing in top fishery journals that fish farms are harming our oceans. DFO must shoulder the responsibility we pay them for and separate the farm and wild fish.

But instead, DFO sends a scientist forward to contest every scientific paper that contravenes policy. My colleagues and I have debunked each criticism, but DFO still cannot accept that fish farms must be removed from wild salmon nurseries. If a DFO scientist publicly agrees that fish farms harm the ocean, all fish farm leases in BC become invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.

There is no sea louse “debate,” only an obsolete mission to protect an outdated Federal policy. Wild salmon are a powerful living source of energy. Salmon not only feed this coast supporting tourism and commercial fishing, they fertilize the very forests we need to remove the carbon we are killing our planet with. We really don’t deserve this generous animal, but it is ours to protect or trash.

We know how to bring abundant wild salmon back and that it has to start with fixing what we have broken. Our coast is not dying, humpback whales have recently returned. They would not be here if there was nothing to eat. There are indeed many issues affecting salmon, but fish farms are a huge problem that is easily fixed. Fish farms are removable, so lets move them and keep both wild and farm fish. This is not just about saving salmon; this is about save the humans. It is about the world we are leaving to our children. Fish farms must be removed from BC’s wild salmon nurseries areas immediately or the life of this Province will dim irrevocably.

Please see: www.callingfromthecoast.com “Dear Marine Harvest”

Alexandra Morton R.P.Bio.

· Registered
338 Posts
What a beautifully written letter, I hope it is circulated beyond our little forum. I especially like the analogy between bird farming and fish farming. Both the issue and the solution are so clear and so simple, it is mind boggling that net pens are still poisoning our in-shore waters. It is nothing but a lot of :drunk: causing a lot of :'(
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