It has been five years since the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides announced neonicotinoids cause “significant damage and pose a serious risk of harm to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species in soil, vegetation, aquatic and marine habitats and are affecting ecosystem services as a result..” The European Union responded to public concerns by imposing a ban on three neonicotinoids in 2013. Now Health Canada proposes phasing-out a neonictinoid pesticide and conducting special reviews for two others.
Canada’s $2 billion Aquaculture industry is embroiled in controversy. While there may be some debate as to whether wild salmon spread more infections to British Columbia’s penned stock or vice versa,1 there have been incidents like the Queen Charlotte Strait’s 2015 sea lice epidemic.2 On May 20, 2016, Dr Kristi Miller, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that there is “a potential Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon samples” collected from a aquaculture facility off the coast of Vancouver Island. In Norway, where HSMI is more common, this disease is “associated with generally low mortality on farms, generally between 0 to 20%.”3The stress (and thus mortality rate) is undoubtedly greater on wild salmon, which need to capture prey, escape predators and swim upstream to spawn. So, acting on behalf of marine biologist Alexandra Morton, ECOjustice is suing Canada’s Ministry of Fisheries for putting wild salmon at risk. Some argue the best answer is to bring salmon farms on land.
Marine Harvest Canada’s (MHC)studies show that the prevalence of sea lice in wild salmon stocks is unaffected by the presence, or absence, of fish farms. Katherine Dolmage, MHC’s Certification Officer, claims that wild salmon definitely spread sea lice to fish farms in the fall, but data showing that fish farms infect smolts when they swim out to the ocean, in the spring, is not conclusive. Anti-fish farm biologist Alexandra Morton emailed me that these studies are bogus, but did not explain why. ↩
In a 2015 interview, Morton conceded (starts 7:39 in podcast) that the fish farm’s delousing procedure “worked very well for seven years” prior to 2015. MHC is now beefing up their preventative measures with a 75-metre “freshwater well boat,” to give fresh water cleansing baths to their salmon twice a year. ↩
Press release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada; According to Marine Harvest’s Integrated Annual Report 2015, from Norway, HSMI is listed third in the “Main causes of reduced survival” graph on page 68; Ironically: though HSMI is specifically mentioned in Norway’s Region West, this was also “the most profitable (fish farming) region in Norway in 2015” p 55 ↩
The first meeting of what Environment Minister Catherine McKenna calls our “pan-Canadian team on Climate Change” is now over. She has been closeted with environmental ministers from the provinces and territories, McKenna called it “the most positive meeting that has taken place in a very long time. Though short on details, the Minister said “We all know we have to act together”and alluded to “real opportunities” in the clean tech sector. To distill her message down to the three words which she did not actually use, McKenna asks Canadians to trust the Government Continue reading McKenna Asks Canadians To Trust The Government→
As the people of Washington and Oregon turn their back on new coal port proposals, producers have turned to British Columbia. Neptune Terminals’ coal port capacity, in North Vancouver, was doubled, without any public consultation and the city’s request for a health impact assessment was ignored. Resistance to the proposed coal terminal at Fraser Surrey docks was more determined. The Port Authority carried out assessments before approving the project, but there has been grounds for believing the project was decided upon long before the official outcome. Ecojustice has undertaken this case on behalf of Voters Taking Action Against Climate Change and Communities and Coal. This morning I’m interviewing Ecojustice lawyer Karen Campbell about the fight to keep coal from Fraser Surrey Docks