Sunday, 27 November 2016

Bill C-228

Every one of us who fishes for wild Pacific salmon should tell their MP to support Fin Donnelly’s new private-member’s bill – C-228 – that has now had second reading. It supports wild salmon by calling for fish farms to be taken out of the water and raised on land in closed containers.

I would also say that from now on when committees are set up to handle salmon issues, we have to ask for additional members that represent aboriginal, commercial fishing, sport fishing, independent scientist, environmental non-governmental organization and a member of the public. The purpose is so we can have faith that the process is not manipulated by government and fish farms.

The other thing, which I think is important, is that the chinook stamp on our licences should be quadrupled to $24, or $7.2 million total revenue. The current $1.8 million DFO now hands to the Pacific Salmon Foundation for habitat restoration. In addition, we should be asking the federal and provincial governments to each add matching dollars to the PSF, resulting in a combined amount of $21.6 million annually. With the PSF’s ability to leverage money at a 7 to 1 ratio, with BC volunteer/business donations, the amount gets us to $151.2 million invested in salmon habitat restoration annually – the most important problem with declining wild salmon in BC. (There are those 77,000 culverts that need replacing, for instance, and items such as head water dams for 
climate change that are pricey).

The other important thing that this suggestion achieves is that it gets habitat restoration out of the hands of DFO in Ottawa and brings it back to BC where we have more interest in our salmon than decision makers so far away. We have so much interest that a survey showed that salmon are as important to British Columbians as French is to Quebec (See reference 1 in the debate post below). That is pretty sobering.

Now, Bill C-228: speakers during debate included two liberals and I chose to respond to the longer speech of the two, Serge Cormier, an MP from NB. The main thing wrong with his words is that everything said is platitudes that sound good, but do not obtain when we start looking at how things work in the real world. The entire speech is DFO/fish farm spin, and I decided to take each claim apart.

My post is: I chose to use a lot of references – 30 – and be as short and sharp in rebuttal as I could be. Go read the Cormier words, and my responses.

I think the most important issue is that we can no longer trust government to handle wild salmon on our behalf, and thus the need for representation from other stakeholders on all committees. To zero in on only one issue raised, see reference 8 in that document. (See: 

The referenced post details the results of a Freedom of Information request for documents from DFO and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on testing of wild and farmed BC salmon for diseases. What they did was search for a lab they thought would give them back negative results, as in no disease, and how to get the contract going and make it look right. Commonly put, that is fraudulent. And they chose the BC testing system to do the work.

If DFO and the CFIA think the BC testing system gives negative results, that means the entire system we have for protecting our wild BC salmon doesn’t work, hence, my suggestions for change. You will recall that Cohen called for the conflict of interest in supporting fish farms be excised from DFO and for it to get on with its real work, the Wild Salmon Policy, to bring back our wild fish. 

Incidentally, the issue of conflict originates in Norway where the BC industry started. Cermaq, for instance, was started inside government and made some elected officials very wealthy. Government and business move forward arm in arm to make the most money possible for the industry. They call it: neoliberalism We call it: fraud. On the other hand, scientists whose research unveils problems are attacked (See: 

So, the conclusion I draw is that calling for science is either naïve or disingenuous. In Norway, for instance, the CEO of Marine Harvest, Helge Aarskog, is quoted as saying lice are their worst problem (See references 26 and 27), and has 90 scientific studies going to try and solve the problem. And, of course, industry paying for research, also results in conflict of interest. Meanwhile, in BC, the same company says lice are not a problem. 

I receive more than 20 global fish farm newsletters every week, and have been very surprised by the amount of bad news there is in the global fish farm/seafood industry – more than 1,000 stories in little more than a year (See: Scan the bold facing for a minute and you will see the huge amount of bad news. The first problem is that it is a boom/bust industry. A current example of a boom is Grieg Seafood’s Placentia Bay, NL plan for the largest fish farm complex in the world.

I would add that diseases normally wipe out large parts of the industry. A current example of a bust is the loss of 23 million farmed salmon in Chile in March 2016, the algal bloom due, in part, to their own sewage, and the military’s dumping of 75,000 metric tonnes of diseased dead fish less than 50 miles off shore. My estimate of the sewage cost of in-ocean fish farms to all of us in BC is $10.4 billion, a figure that took me a very long time to figure out. 

So, in Canada, we have a government system looking not to find disease, and Serge saying that sites are fallowed between use so things are great on the sewage front, and finally that fish farm fish are nutritious. Look at the graph in the post on Bill C-228 debate. It shows that farmed fish have ten times the cancer-causing PCBs, dioxins and so on of any other meat. And that one scientist, Claudette Bethune ended up ‘losing’ her job in Norway researching the amounts of cadmium and mercury in farmed fish. 

Another figure that took me a long time to figure out is the number of wild fish that are killed to feed an industry the size of BC’s to harvest once. It is 5.76 billion, and 19 out of 20 global forage fish stocks have been mismanaged and ruinously fished down. BC’s industry is only 8.5% the size of Norway’s and Norway is only one country of a dozen that raise farmed fish carnivores. The reality is that trillions of wild fish are killed to bring the global product to harvest once. And 50% of salmonids die in countries where they operate. This includes BC. See:

So, get in touch with your MP and tell the person to vote for Bill C-228, which is a place to start. Then ask DFO to quadruple the chinook stamp and give the money to the PSF.

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