On the heels of the Harper government giving the Norwegian salmon feedlot industry the greenlight to expand in BC, the industry was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The wisdom of Justice Bruce Cohen tossed aside, BC is now a third-world region - just another place for Norway to raise "their" fish. This is a death sentence to the wild salmon of British Columbia. If we serious about preserving our way of life, democracy and our country we need to adapt to meet this challenge. If we don't, it is clear where we are going - think Chile - massive salmon feedlots, disease outbreaks and a new social order wherever this industry bites down.
In early January, we learned the Harper government quietly invited the Norwegian salmon farming industry to expand in BC. He did this despite specific warnings to the opposite by his own federal Commission. He did this ignoring his constitutional responsibility to consult with First Nations. See press release by Living Oceans.
A few days later on January 28, 2014, Marine Harvest (the biggest of the three Norwegian operators using BC to grow "their" fish) was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. They rang the Opening Bell. Their press release states they plan to lead the blue revolution similar to 5000 years ago when we went from hunting to farming. They fail to mention salmon farming requires aggressive wild fisheries. Truth is a scarce commodity in this deal.
Marine Harvest - listed as a protein company to woo American investors,
"We want to grow even faster" says Marine Harvest Chief Executive Alf-Helge Aarskog.
This is a very dangerous situation for BC's wild salmon. Wild salmon do not survive exposure to salmon feedlots. DFO shrunken, bent and abused - is no longer capable of defending wild salmon. British Columbians have made it clear they distrust this industry, but Harper is not listening to the people he rules.
I use quotes when I write "their" fish because under the Constitution of Canada no one is allowed to "own" a salmon in the marine waters of Canada. The Fraser Institute suggests a change to the Consitution of Canada to accomodate this industry:
"An appropriate set of private property rights for fish farmers would markedly raise efficiency in the production of seafood, while helping to eliminate whatever negative externalities may be associated with their operation." These "negative externalities" would only be eliminated on paper, in fact they threaten the coast of British Columbia, Washington State and Alaska.
See Marine Harvest ring the Opening Bell - New York Stock Exchange Jan. 28. 2014. Tycoon John Fredricksen, (the richest man in Norway until he changed citizenship) and his daughter clap.
Chief Robert Chamberlin (left), traveled to Norway several times to introduce shareholder resolutions at Marine Harvest AGMs. He spent years in the circular government labyrinths, designed to absorb the energy of such a man, trying to find solutions to the invasion of this industry into his territory. He is instructed by his people to protect the wild seafood resources they depend on. And yet Chamberlin was not consulted about the expansion of this industry in his territory.
Chief Chamberlin, a patient man, has taken an unprecedented step inviting us to "link arms" in resisting this unjustifiable expansion.
Moving very quickly, the applications to expand salmon farming in BC are appearing in local newspapers. The one shown below is among the Discovery Islands, where Justice Bruce Cohen specifically warned the industry should be phased out.
#19 - On September 30, 2020, the minister of fisheries and oceans should prohibit net-pen salmon farming in the Discovery Islands (fish health sub-zone 3-2) unless he or she is satisfied that such farms pose at most a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon. The minister’s decision should summarize the information relied on and include detailed reasons. The decision should be published on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ website. Cohen Commission Recommendation #19
The Cohen Commission Recommendations have been removed from the internet, but Watershed Watch has posted them for us, with a calendar of missed opportunities to preserve wild salmon in BC.
To make matters worse for wild salmon, the federal government licences grant the salmon farmers the power to make the decision whether they use Atlantic salmon infected with viruses. Under Canada's Fisheries Act, Section 56 the Minister of Fisheries is not permitted to this, but the new federal Aquaculture Licence attempts to override Canada's Fisheries Act. This is nothing short of a complete betrayal of government's contract with the people to protect wild salmon. I am challenging these licences in court with Ecojustice - thank you Ecojustice.
Farmed salmon coloured pink to look like salmon, but is it healthy? In June 2013, a Norwegian pediatrician risked her career to warn women that the PCBs and Dioxins in farmed salmon are so high they are a risk to the development of their babies brains. This launched an ongoing investigation by the media. When France learned about the toxins in Norwegian farmed salmon, exports from Norway fell 20%. Most alarming Norway lobbied the European Union to increase levels of Endosulfan 10xs in farmed salmon feed, because the salmon farmers wanted to reduce costs. In 2010, the Stockholm Convention recommended a worldwide ban of endosulfan. Some countries did not comply and that is where the salmon farming industry went for grains they include in their feed. Norway is now farming their salmon in BC.
Read the translated Norwegian articles here.
We are losing ground. The Norwegian salmon feedlot industry has won the backing of the Harper government. Common sense and the law have been set aside.
I would like to suggest a change in our relationship.
I want to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of you who have approached me on the street, written and called me. Your supportive words and donations have given me the opportunity to take this fight through the courts, the scientific literature and onto the streets.
But in the face of the current situation, I can only say I am not the David you hoped I would be against this Goliath.
I can, however, be your guide. I have studied the salmon farming industry since it was born in my community in 1988. I know it inside and out. I have first-hand experience with the players, politics, science, local biology, legislation and law.
You are the most powerful force on earth. If you make time in your life to fight for wild salmon, there will be wild salmon for our children. You will not suffer the emotional damage of being a victim and I will be here alongside you to make sure your time is not wasted.
This is not a one-off engagement. We will need to be relentless, like the industry itself. I will let you know what I think is the powerful thing you can do for wild salmon. And I will listen to your ideas.
Here is what needs to be done today:
1 - Click on the petition below and share it with all your facebook and other friends and family
Each fish farm in BC needs a provincial licence in addition to the federal licence. The Premier of BC has the power to revoke fish farm Licences of Occupation, with no compensation, if it is in the public interest. There are more than 80,000 on this petition, but we are not enough for the Premier of BC to respond. There is some number of signatures that will get a response. People from around the world are welcome to sign this.
2 - Contact the sushi restaurants in your community
Express how you feel about them paying money to the companies who are farming salmon in BC marine waters. Choose to eat at restaurants that only serve wild salmon.
3 - Donate the funds I need to communicate to people far and wide about the impact of this industry on our oceans and our health.
The salmon farmers in BC are huge Norwegian companies with media strategists and marketing campaigns. We cannot protect BC without the funds to make people aware of what is going on here. In the ad below they actually tell people they are saving wild salmon! We have to step onto this stage.
4 - Share this film, hold showings in your homes, send it to everyone you know and then ask them to follow steps 1, 2, 3 and 4
Wild salmon are not saved by salmon farming. Quotas are not based on the number of farmed salmon raised and the weight of scientific evidence suggests salmon farms cause considerable harm to wild salmon.
To be continued....