Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pristine Coast and the Men Who Would Befoul It

Release Poisons, Really?

by Alexandra Morton


Members of Parliament John Duncan and James Lunney are reaching out to the public regarding new salmon farm "regulations" that would allow the industry to release chemicals that kill fish. They would also allow for killing wild fish to control pathogens.

As one of the big Norwegian operators in BC considers selling out to Mitsubishi, we have three weeks to speak up about these proposed regulations.

Also there is a new film on salmon farming premiering this weekend at the Vancouver International Film Festival The ending will surprise you!

We need to decide if we want Norwegian and Japanese companies deciding which fish will live or die in BC.

Our voices are important. See my blog on how to comment on this.

Alexandra Morton

Need to posion the ocean? You don't belong here.

Pristine Coast

See below for invitation to new film on salmon farms showing at Vancouver International Film Festival this weekend.

Does an industry that needs to release poisons into the ocean really belong here?

The laws of Canada are in the process of being changed to benefit the Norwegian salmon farmers using BC to make money. Your voice is needed. Please consider writing Mr. Ed Porter by October 22, 2014, to register your opinion on whether salmon farms should be allowed to release chemicals that kill fish into the wild salmon migration routes where they are sited. Click on highlighted blue email address to send an email to DFO after reading this blog - thank you.

Ed Porter, Manager
Aquaculture Policy and Regulatory Initiatives Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent Street, Room 8N187
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6
Fax: 613-993-8607
Email: (paste into your email program)

While it seems a no-brainer - releasing chemicals that kill fish into BC's most important wild fish migration routes is a bad idea - members of parliament, James Lunney and John Duncan are campaigning for exactly this. Specifically they are the faces on the Proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations.

West Coast Environmental Law has given us a legal opinion on these regulations and expressed serious concern that the new regulations "permit an unacceptable degree of risk and harm to Canadians and the environment." Download WCEL submission to DFO re Aquaculture Regulations

There is a 60 - day opportunity until October 22 for you to put your comments on these proposed regs on the record.

How is this in the public interest?

These proposed regulations offer the salmon farming industry unprecedented opportunity to release chemical waste known to kill fish directly into the ocean. Salmon farms in BC are sited in highly productive prawn, wild salmon, rock cod habitat, so this means pouring poisons into places that already produce an enormous amount of wild food. These proposed regulations will also permit killing of wild fish to control "pathogens." Here is text from the proposed regulations.

"The proposed Regulations would prescribe the classes of substances authorized to be deposited, and would specify works, undertakings or activities authorized to be undertaken. 

These provisions enable:

  • the deposit of products to control fish pathogens, pests and biofouling;
  • the control of pathogens, pests and biofouling;
  • the deposit of biochemical oxygen demanding matter;
  • the installation, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of an aquaculture facility; and
  • the killing of fish for the purposes of fish pathogen, pest and biofouling control."

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Translation: Salmon farmers want to use stronger drugs to kill sea lice, because their sea lice are becoming drug-resistant world-wide and eating into profits: Scotland, Norway, Canada.

"Biochemical Oxygen Demanding Matter" is their name for the tons of manure produce daily per salmon farm. Unlike most farmers, salmon farmers are exempted from dealing with their manure, they just release all of it, untreated, into the narrow passages BC's wild salmon swim through. This mucus, urine and extrement from millions of farmed salmon carries pathogens. Wild salmon swimming nearby will get this mess on their gills into direct contact with their bloodstream.

"Wild fish can be killed to prevent disease from infecting farmed salmon". 

This should concern us. At the same time as this industry is pushing for newly relaxed regulations, they are also pushing to finally own the fish in their pens, which they don't to date because the laws of Canada prohibit ownership of fish in the sea. In 2009, BC Supreme Court ruled it is the same ocean inside and outside the pens, therefore it is highly uncertain who owns the fish in the pens.

If the industry is given the right to own the fish and kill wild fish to control pathogens, corporate lawyers will be enforcing which fish live and die on the coast of BC. These lawyers cannot put the public interest first, they can only serve the shareholders, who likely are in no way impacted by loss of wild salmon in BC. By changing its laws, Canada is removing the last shreds of protection of public fisheries.

Fish kills to control disease

This sentence is very disturbing "the killing of fish for the purposes of fish pathogen, pest and biofouling control." I have written to Ed Porter three times asking him to confirm if this means wild fish can be killed to protect farmed salmon, but he has not answered. IHN virus is common to sockeye salmon and deadly to Atlantic salmon.

Does this provision mean that juvenile wild sockeye that are carriers of this virus can be killed in their rivers to protect the farmed salmon in pens on the migration routes of BC's wild salmon? Would it be better to protect the farmed salmon by taking the pens off wild salmon migration routes rather than killing wild salmon? We can't change where wild salmon migrate, but we can easily put farmed salmon in tanks where they are completely protected from wild pathogens.

I will write to Mr Porter every day and update this page if he provides an answer. He is listed at the end of the regulations for questions.

These proposed regulations unravel tough laws that Canada put in place to protect our oceans, the fish in the ocean, whales, people and most importantly future generations. Giving these aggressive companies permission to poison our waters is not in our interest. It serves shareholders who have invested in old, dirty, and highly problematic farming techniques and don't have the sense to see this gig is over. If they need to poison BC waters, they do not belong here.

Cermaq, one of the three big Norwegian companies operating in BC is considering selling to Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi will be in charge of which fish live and die in BC. Does this sound like a good idea? Write to Mr. Porter before October 22.

See information below on new Canadian documentary on salmon farms. The ending will surprise you!

Pristine Coast

Who: Scott Renyard, Writer, Producer and Director of The Pristine Coast, Owner of Juggernaut Pictures

When and Where: Premier - September 27, 2014 at 8:30 p.m.: Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas, 88 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9

October 3, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.: Simon Fraser University, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4

October 7, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.: The Cinematheque

1131 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2L7



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