On Friday, the day before the BC Day long weekend and just before the anticipated election call, Minister Letnick announced that BC waters will get FOUR more salmon farms. The BC Liberal government just can't hear us. 110,000 people asked them not to do this. Fraser River Nations asked that the be consulted before salmon they have rights and title to were made to pass through more Atlantic salmon farm effluent and pathogens, but the BC government just plugged their ears and obeyed the four foreign companies that use the BC coast to grow salmon in pens.
Yes, all these farms have the local First Nation approval. It is tragic that some First Nations feel cornered into making the choice to become partners in the dirty practice of raising Atlantic salmon in feedlots in our ocean, but not all nations are making choices like this. The Lax Kw'alaams have set the bar, chose life over money. They are an example we should consider following if we care about our children.
One of the companies gifted with a new piece of the BC coast is Grieg Seafood, a Norwegian family. Grieg offered the commercial fishermen of Sointula $20,000 each for the Clio Channel site, because the farm will take over a rich shrimping ground. The fishermen refused the money, but have now lost their fishing ground anyway. They have been displaced. This rich fishing ground will now become an open sewer, tons of feces from Atlantic salmon raining down from this Norwegian-owned farm.
Local people tried to fight this farm, but Letnick ignored them in favour of this Norwegian family that owns a fleet of bulk carrier freighters and the Squamish Terminals in BC. Grieg Seafood reported to the Oslo Stock Exchange that they lost 1,000 tons of fish in BC last month due to low-oxygen and has been forced to refinance due to acute mortality in BC and disease problems elsewhere. And yet the BC government has more loyalty to them than to the local fishermen who informed government that 70% of their shrimp catch comes from this area of Clio Channel. Minister Letnick has chosen this Norwegian family and their troubled fish farm endeavors over British Columbians. Happy BC Day!
I feel that Letnick's Ministry is cowardly announcing this expansion on a Friday - before a long weekend - before an election call. This speaks of uncertainty and shame. 110,000 people asked BC NOT to do this and yet they went ahead anyway. See Petition.
It sure makes a person wonder what the deal was? What did the BC government get that made them ignore 100,000 people and a beautiful viable fishery.
How sure are you Minister Letnick that BC is not going to see a viral outbreak from these salmon farms threaten wild salmon? If wild salmon were important to you would you risk them in this way? I don't think so! I see a difference in First Nation's views on salmon. Some that have jumped on with the Norwegians seem to be saying they have given up on wild salmon,
"It’s not just salmon, it’s everything. It’s not coming back, the local wild stuff? People want to hang on to something that was there and is not there anymore. I fished commercial for 40 years and continue to wait for it to come back.” Ben Robinson is President of Kitasoo Seafoods Ltd. Article
Other nations carry their salmon on their backs up hot, steep shale slopes because they see them as essential to their culture and diet and clearly have not given up on wild salmon. The nations who are in financial relationship with salmon farmers are making decisions for this entire coast and the Fraser River watershed. More and more wild salmon are bathed in farm salmon sewage.
Chief Michelle Lee Edwards protesting farmed salmon at Peace Arch 2014
It is important for people to understand that losing wild salmon is like pulling the BC hydro line out of your house. British Columbia will go dim. The living world receives massive amounts of energy from wild salmon. Wild salmon feed the trees that are making the oxygen you breath. Those trees pull carbon out of our atmosphere and so are a stabilizing force that we desperately need. Increasing wild salmon is part of the fight to stop climate instability.
Salmon farming, on the other hand, is a dirty, wasteful practice. Norway has reined this industry in because its sea lice are so drug-resistant the fish farmers can't control them. While in Chile, the industry has to use so much drugs, that COSTCO has rejected the product. This leaves BC as the go-to place to grow satisfy the shareholders with growth.
There has been stunning rapid-fire punch to British Columbians:
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada joined with Marine Harvest to fight for the right for the industry to use diseased Atlantic salmon. Federal decision appealed
- July 15, 2015 Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries amends federal law permitting salmon farmers to use deleterious substances in fish habitat to try to kill the lice
- The Canadian Senate, in disgrace due to phone sex with a teenager and misuse of our money, decided to ignore the science and call for a doubling of aquaculture in Canada
- The Province of BC is displacing BC fishermen, ignoring over 110,000 people, including First Nations of the Fraser River and the science to approve 4 more salmon farms on our coast.
Salmon farms are feedlots. Feedlots belong in quarantine. We know this. I believe Minister Letnick's Ministry is being reckless and foolish in granting these four new salmon farm Licences of Occupation.
We cannot give up. Wild salmon are facing extreme weather as climate change heats up the rivers. Swimming through clouds of Atlantic salmon fecal waste puts them at unnecessary risk.
Please consider making a donation on the upper right of this page to keep me in this endless fight.
The BC government has made a big mistake, thinking that British Columbians are going to ignore this. This French documentary, recently translated, gives a shocking expose on the serious risks in eating farmed salmon after minute 20. Our BC government picked this fish over wild salmon.
Happy BC Day!