Marine Harvest did not have the consent of local First Nations, when they set up an open net fish farm off Swanson Island farm thirty-one-years ago. They did not need it, with a Social Credit government ruling British Columbia. Only this is 2017, the courts recognize aboriginal title, and Premier John Horgan is more conscious of First Nation’s concerns. At the invitation of Chief Bob Chamberlain of Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, Horgan and three of his top cabinet ministers visited Alert Bay. They met with forty Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) leaders, who demanded Horgan remove the Broughton Archipelago’s open net fish farms.
In 2002, the number of pink salmon returning to the Broughton Archipelago was only 3% of normal. Alexandra Morton subsequently co-authored a study reporting that 68 – 98 % of the fish tested in this area had the sea louse “L. salmonis.”1 A University of Toronto study links the 2015 sea lice epidemic to fish farms in the same area. The article that follows is based on Marine Harvest Canada’s (MHC) Ian Roberts’ response to anti-salmon farm critics.
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.
Wildlife biologist Alexandra Morton has been wanting to get a close look at the salmon inside a fish farm for years. She got her opportunity on August 23, when the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation boarded the Marine Harvest Midsummer farm in Kingcome Inlet, BC. The video below shows what Morton found after lowered a Go Pro camera into the pens for ten minutes. She calls this hard evidence from the inside.
There have been salmon die-offs since the mid-1990s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was on the verge of addressing this issue more than a decade ago. Vested interests objected. The idea was shelved until last year’s drought. After water temperatures rose 4 degrees above the lethal ceiling (68 degrees F), 96% of the returning adult sockeye died before they could pass beyond the Lower Granite dam. Now a coalition of environmental groups is forcing EPA to protect salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Continue reading Forcing EPA To Protect Salmon→