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 ↩
In a recent interview with the ECOreport, Simon Fraser University Climate ScientistDr, Kirsten Zickfelddescribed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s idea of fighting climate change while expanding the oil sands and building new pipelines as “delusional.” There is only a finite amount of carbon we can release into the atmosphere and if we hope keep the global temperature rise to 2 degrees C. We are already close to 1.5 degrees and may pass that threshold this year. Even if we do not build any new fossil fuel infrastructure, Canada will exhaust “its’ fair share” of carbon emissions by 2030. These were quite strong statements, so I asked a couple of other scientists – as well as environmentalists, politicians and government spokespersons – Can Canada build more pipelines? Or LNG facilities? Continue reading Can Canada Build More Pipelines? Or LNG Facilities?→
Rumour has it British Columbia may be on the verge of coming to an agreement with Alberta that could overcome one of the biggest hurdles confronting the Site C Dam project. Though the province is not expected to need the controversial dam’s electricity until about 2029, if ever, there are conditions under which Alberta might be willing to purchase it. Premier Rachel Notley told theGlobe and Mail this isn’t a simple quid per quo deal, but also made it clear the deal must include a pipeline. In response, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment once again reaffirmed the position her government adopted in 2012. BC’s five conditions must be met before the government will support a pipeline project.
Though Justin Trudeau’s election was largely a reaction to the oil patch politics of the Harper regime, it also marked a renaissance of faith in our nation’s democratic process. Under the Conservatives, this was a one day event that happened every four years. Providing he has the fortitude to endure the criticisms of “radicals,” the Prime Minister was largely free to impose upon the nation. Trudeau promised to change that. Aside from lavish public displays like our procession at COP 21 and the a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, this new government does not appear to be substantially more democratic that its’ predecessor. The question, after this week’s convention, is will the NDP give British Columbians a voice?
Prior to his election as Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau promised that the National Energy Board hearings on the proposed Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion would not go forward. We need a new review process, which both focuses on science and seeks social license in the areas where projects like this are being suggested. That changed after his election. The hearings resumed and, sometime before May 20, the National Energy Board is expected to recommend the Trans Mountain project be approved. If the Prime Minister agrees, there will be a seven-fold increase of diluted bitument coming through the most populated area of British Columbia. In anticipation of the proposed pipeline, the province of British Columbia is drawing up legislation for “world-leading provincial spills regime.” This is the backdrop for the ECOreport’s Monday, April 11, program on CKTZ: Bitumen sinks and is almost impossible to clean up.