The salmon feedlot owners are now refusing to allow the provincial government of British Columbia to test the fish in their pens for disease as of April 1 2010, they will not even permit access to their dead fish. I don't know how these feedlots are getting away with this, but they must have reasons for such extreme secrecy. This could become law in December when regulation of salmon feedlots in BC moves from the provincial to the federal government of Canada. The decline of the Fraser sockeye is strongly correlated with known disease outbreaks in salmon feedlots (see below). The federal government is allowing public comment for only 30 more days in the middle of summer when everyone is resting and on vacation. Unfortunately, this is up to you, if enough people oppose the deregulating of salmon feedlots the regulations will be rewritten. It seems wrong to allow them to flush all their waste into salmon habitat, while preventing government disease monitoring. Consumers and the markets must reject such a careless product.
Here is the link to the petition at www.salmonaresacred.org
Dear Government of British Columbia
I have been writing to Dr. Mark Sheppard vet at BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (BCMAL) about whether or not IHN virus is a reportable disease for salmon feedlots. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency made 23 fish diseases “immediately notifiable diseases” last December, so it would seem an easy question for him to answer, but he refused to say “yes” or a “no.” And now I know why.
The reason for my question is because the decline in productivity of Fraser sockeye is alarmingly correlated with massive IHN outbreaks in salmon feedlots on the Fraser sockeye migration route going back to 1992. These outbreaks were kept secret in some cases from the Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks. Government took no action to remove the highly infectious fish and the virus spread to other feedlots exposing many generations of Fraser sockeye to highly unnatural pathogen levels. DFO scientists have published papers stating IHN is lethal to sockeye and should not be allowed to thrive in salmon feedlots, but DFO and the province stood by and did nothing. DFO has found IHN in Fraser sockeye in the years of the IHN epidemics.
The correlation is so alarming we have to know what is going on in the captive salmon if we are going to protect the wild salmon. ! We all know feedlot disease amplification is dangerous to humanity, and food security. The sockeye scientists report this generation of Adams sockeye has been one of the least affected by the decline. We need to backtrack through the years that this run was exposed to the salmon feedlots and examine if there were disease outbreaks or not. Unless we can learn these things we are running blind and can only blame ourselves for the problems.
On March 1 the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (Order F10-06) decided that the salmon feedlot disease records in the possession of BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands had to be released to a Freedom of Information applicant. In the decision adjudicator, Michael McEvoy, quotes the four big biggest companies in BC stating that if their disease records are released to the public they would never give government access again. This suggest extortion.
On April 1 they apparently made good on their threat:
"Fish Health and Lice Monitoring audits by BCMAL ceased as of April 01, 2010 when live fish and carcasses were no longer volunteered, or made available, to BCMAL Fish Health Program staff.": http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/ahc/fish_health/Summary_FH_HMP_Q2_2010.pdf
Do you realize you have allowed an industry that is unconstitutional in nature to threaten government? These salmon feedlot-owners refuse to allow the government of British Columbia access to “their” dead fish even though they do not clearly own those fish and flush all waste into public waters.
Canada knew this industry was unconstitutional in 1984 when they had a report commissioned by that offered 3 courses of action to amend this....none of which were taken. Instead the industry was unlawfully transferred to the Province in an attempt to hide the fact that no one in Canada is allowed to privatize ocean spaces, nor own fish in the ocean. In a Letter of Understanding signed Jan 23, 2001 British Columbians paid $70,000 for a database containing salmon feedlot disease information that is so secret BCMAL promised to not even give it to their enforcement officers. The disease information BCMAL does release is so incomplete it failed to report the IHN epidemic in Broughton in 2003.
The province of BC has stood by while this industry took a bold step step exerting powers the Constitution of Canada does not offer. I realize you are almost free of regulating this industry, but you are now responsible for 5 months of no fish health audits of salmon feedlots and you continue to lease the land of British Columbia to this industry. The Crown Lands Mission Statement is Excellence in the administration of Crown land to provide the greatest benefits for British Columbians.
I ask you is it “excellence” and in the interests of British Columbians to allow these companies to successfully threaten government and make up their own rules?
None of this is legal, the displacement of the public from public waters, the industry pretending they own the salmon in the ocean, allowing these corporations to prevent government from examining the health of fish in Canadian waters, and your regulation of this industry for the past 20 years. Out neighbors to the south are on an entirely different program to restore their runs of wild salmon.
If the governments of Canada refuse to adhere to the Constitution we are no longer a democracy.