Justice Bruce Cohen just released his Final Report on his 3-year, $26 million commission into the 17-year decline of the Fraser Sockeye.
I want to share Cohen's incredibly strong wording within the confines of his mandate, which was specific to the Fraser sockeye. Clearly, however, Fraser sockeye are not different from other salmon in their vulernability to the array of farm salmon pathogens.
I will write more detail in my blog soon, but I wanted you to know the good news as soon as possible. The Cohen report includes:
Salmon farms have the potential to import exotic viruses and amplify endemic ones
There should be an immediate freeze on farm salmon production on the Fraser sockeye migration route
DFO should be relieved of their duty to promote salmon farms
Mitigation into the impact of salmon farms on wild salmon should not be delayed and should be carried out in the absence of absolute certainty
DFO must assess ALL research done on the impact of farm salmon on wild salmon and if found greater than minimal, the industry must be prohibited from operating on the Fraser sockeye migration route!
Siting criteria has to be revised to include wild salmon migration routes.
As this report is tabled, you should know the Province of BC is in the process of renewing many salmon farm leases. The Province of BC remains the landlord of the industry even though regulation has become federal. If BC offers this industry long term leases, Justice Cohen's recommendations and our $26 million will be wasted. The Province cannot at this point offer these lease renewals without consulting with the Fraser First Nations, because the salmon they have rights to are swimming through effluent from the salmon farms, Cohen is specifically reporting on.
I am actively researching exotic salmon viruses, but if these leases are renewed in the next few weeks, there will be little chance of the Cohen recommendations being acted on.
This report is the result of a massive amount of work, I especially thank my lawyers Lisa Glowacki and Greg McDade - they went the extra mile and beyond!
There is something you can do now. I have created a petition in honour of Cohen's work asking Permier Clark not to renew the salmon farm leases to the sea floor of BC.
If you step up and share it widely, there is a chance our children will have wild salmon in their lives, and honestly it looks like there are tough times ahead, they will need everything we can leave them.
In celebration of hope and thanks to you Mr Cohen for seeing the difficult truths,