Council forsakes wild species that made us famous

Gone is any perception of prudence or respect for a precautionary principle

Re: article and the position taken by City Council – Campbell River City Council support for Salmon Farm Expansion.

By openly giving their support to the application from Grieg Seafood seeking to amend existing permitted land use in order to place two new open net pen salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago area, Campbell River Council, in my opinion, have forsaken the very wild species for which this community is famous.

Gone is any perception of prudence or respect for a precautionary principle and replaced by a somewhat cavalier attitude that it is fine to use our coastal waterways as an open sewer and to openly continue with the introduction of an alien, invasive species that may well impact our own wild stocks in a negative fashion.

From the basis of the article it seemed that what was of primary importance was employment. Yes, that is an important aspect of the equation but if one is to discuss the subject of sustainability, viability of fish farms then the potential impacts to environment, biodiversity, wild stocks and what we leave for future generations must be debated at an equal or higher level at the same time.

I will not attempt to address each and every concern or bias I may have with the current state of fish farms on our coast as it would be fairly lengthy but will simply put it into this context.

You know there are genuine concerns with respect of open net pens and impacts to wild stocks when more than a dozen British Columbia First Nations, as well as 16 fishing and salmon conservation groups in Canada and the United States requested that a NAFTA environmental commission investigate Canada’s failure to protect wild salmon from disease and parasites from industrial fish farms in British Columbia.

One has to become even more concerned when the staff of that particular NAFTA commission concluded that there was enough evidence against Canada to merit a deeper examination only to have our own federal government with the support of Mexico vote against proceeding with any type of investigation of fish farms in B.C.

When dealing with this particular letter from Grieg Seafood the Campbell River Council should have taken a position that supported, called for action and implementation of recommendations included in the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. A report which concluded that salmon farms have the potential for “serious or irreversible” harm to wild salmon through disease transfer. The Cohen Commission recommended a freeze on farmed salmon production along part of the Fraser sockeye migration route until 2020, at which time all farms should be removed unless Canada produces hard evidence that the farms are doing no more than minimal harm.

As the situation now stands, I would ask all to note that in January 2014, without any response or action to the Cohen Commission recommendations, the federal government opened the British Columbia coast to more salmon farms.

I am not opposed to aquaculture – fish farms – but the current use of open net pens is not only antiquated technology but its continued practice is highly detrimental to the health and survival of our wild stocks. Well past the time to grow up and move to land based self-contained process.

Keep the crap and alien species out of our coastal waters.

Dave Crosby

Campbell River