May 31, 2010
Minister Gail Shea
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Dear Fisheries Minister Shea:
Twenty-one thousand, two hundred and eighty (21,280) people have signed a letter asking you to apply the laws of Canada to the Norwegian salmon factory farming industry and to remove the industry from wild salmon migration routes. How do you respond? www.salmonaresacred.org
Five thousand people showed up at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria to support the Get Out Migration demanding removal of Norwegian factory farms from Canadian waters. What is your response? (Parliament Security crowd estimate)
Scientists at an international conference May 10th report farm sea lice are becoming harder to control, leading to more toxic drugs released into the ocean. BC sockeye and other salmon migrating past salmon farms are now heavily infested with sea lice once again this year. Are you aware of this?
Did you know that Norwegian corporations are threatening to refuse to release disease information to government if it can become public through Freedom of Information legislation, even though they are releasing these pathogens into public waters exposing Canada’s largest wild salmon populations to feedlot diseases? press release
While the industry demands their disease outbreaks remain confidential, their processing plants are releasing blood water carrying pathogens directly into Canada’s wild salmon habitat. This is indefensible.
Why did it take an order from the Department of Justice to force your department to lay a charge against Marine Harvest for unlawful possession of wild salmon and herring even though DFO knew about this alleged offense for months previous?
Inter-government memos reveal the Provincial ministry in charge of fish farms refuses to share fish farm disease information with the ministry in charge of protecting wild salmon. Why is that?
Minister Shea when you come to BC you visit Norwegian fish farms, seen here with Marine Harvest. You also go to Norway to sell this coast to the corporate fish farming industry, but you have not even looked at the impact of salmon farming on wild fish.
BC is bereft of political defense of wild salmon both provincially and federally. British Columbia needs a minister who understands and who is willing to protect the public fishery resources.
While I understand you have given thoughtful consideration to east coast fishery issues, may I suggest, with all due respect, that you resign and make room for someone who understands the issues we face in BC - our wild fisheries are going to hell out here. Wild salmon have irreplaceable value economically, in terms of food security, biologically, socially and spiritually. Wild salmon feed the trees that make oxygen and this is not even factored in by the political decisions that are driving wild salmon extinct. In Alaska wild salmon have political will and Alaskans are enjoying record returns, as is Russia. All our fish are feeding in the same ocean.
I suggest Member of Parliament John Cummins for Minister of Fisheries. As I walked the length of Vancouver Island in the Get Out Migration, I heard unprecedented, powerful unity among the factions of west fishery politics. First Nations reported they are more united by this issue than any other. Native, commercial, U.S. and sport fishermen walked side-by-side. If we are going to allow our children the wealth of wild salmon we are going to have to act now. Get the Norwegian salmon farms out of BC waters. Assist the 1,200 people directly employed by salmon farms as they are not responsible for this mistake.
If you can’t see the serious issues with salmon farming and that the industry must move into tanks on land for its own survival, and the survival of wild salmon, we need someone who is closer to BC. You personally wrote me there is no “strong evidence” ISA virus can be introduced to the Pacific Ocean in Atlantic salmon eggs, however, the Norwegian scientists tracking this virus say introduction to BC is “gaurenteed” in Atlantic eggs. I don’t think you have the experience to make this irreversible decision for all of Canada. We cannot recall viruses, anymore than the people of the Gulf Coast can recall the oil. It is time to really look at the risks governments are carelessly taking under pressure from corporate interests at the expense of the people of this planet.
If we in BC are not allowed to have our wild salmon protected by government, we stand warned that we do not live in a democracy.
Alexandra Morton Salmonaresacred.org