Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stripping the Life Off BC's Beaches, While Cashing In on Seaweed

Cashing in on Seaweed

by Andy Sinats

A year and a half after the BC MoA issued the first licenses for seaweed removal on Vancouver Island, beginning with 5,000 tonnes of Mazaella Japonica at Deep Bay, Bowser, all the seaweed, that herring and sand lance rely upon for spawning, is gone. The beaches are empty.

There is no other herring spawning area historically as important on BC coast.

Why this "test-fishery" is being conducted exactly here begs the question if the MoA, which regulates aquaculture, simply has it in for wild fish? To take out the bottom of the food-chain, in the chief nursery for forage fish, upon which Chinook salmon and in turn Orcas rely is simply diabolical.

In a bizarre twist, Beaver Meadow Farm, an "ecologically-correct," pastured-cattle operation in Comox, has received Salmon-Safe-BC "eco-certification" from the Pacific Salmon Foundation to feed 300 tonnes of seaweed to its cows.

(typically, in past years, sea-cast wrack, seaweed 
three feet thick covers these now bare beaches)

Mazaella Japonica is a red seaweed from which carrageenan is extracted for use in vegan-friendly, non-animal, food thickeners, shampoos, and cosmetics. However, the seaweed is laden with minute micro-organisms that decompose it to provide nutrition and habitat for sand-lance embryos, herring eggs, a part of the web of life that sustains 165 species of birds in Baynes sound and marine organisms. It is extremely animal-unfriendly to remove it for commercial purposes.

And for those on a Paleo-diet, to enjoy local pastured beef which is fed on "Salmon-Safe" seaweed extracted at the cost of depleting the forage fish upon which Salmon rely is perverse, though entirely consistent with heedless resource extraction which intentionally defies ecological principles and throws any species, from caribou to wild salmon beneath the profit bus.

Along with a moratorium on herring and herring-roe fisheries, both of which undercut the ocean web of life, there has to be an immediate ban on seaweed removal and issuing of further licenses by Ministry of Agriculture.

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