Narrator: “… Fishing was once a cornerstone of British Columbia’s economy, but we’ve been hearing stories of diminished runs and out of work fishermen for years. Roy Hales lives on Cortes Island, where the fishing industry seems to be mostly spoken about in the past tense. So he set out to find out where have all the salmon gone.”
For the past eight years Gorge harbour residents, on Cortes Island, have been cleaning up the aquaculture debris, left by industry, at their own expense. This was sometimes a source of tension between property owners and industry. Barry and Amanda Glickman, who organized these annual clean-ups, said the first year they hauled away three truck loads of debris. The most recent clean-up was last May. Now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is stepping in and, in partnership with industry, will be holding Turn it in Week between September 11-15, 2017.
Aside from the incredible run of 2010, reports of the Fraser River’s sockeye salmon tend to be glum. I believe there is only one Cortes Island based fisherman still working the Johnston strait and recently learned this is the second year he did not receive an opening to fish sockeye.1 Though the culprits were last year’s drought and a culvert (close to my home), most of the chum returning to Basil Creek in 2015 were killed before they could spawn. These were just a few of the stories that prompted me to seek out evidences of the impending demise of what was previously one of our province’s leading industries. Instead, I found good news about BC’s fishing runs.
Alexandra Morton’s struggle against fish farms has made her a folk heroine in British Columbia. Two years ago, she approached the legal firm ecojustice with a report that aquaculture company Marine Harvest Inc. had transferred Atlantic salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) into net pens located along the Fraser River salmon migration route. On May 6, 2015, they won what Morton calls a victory for wild salmon.