I don’t think I have ever written a letter to a newspaper or news editor before. Perhaps that reflects badly on me. Even though I have opinions and feel passionately about issues, I do not actively get involved. Maybe this is the start of something new.
Recently your paper published an article written by Quinn Bender regarding the removal of salmon farms in the Discovery Passage. I have seen several article from Mr. Bender on the subject of salmon farming – all leading with the voices of numerous activists and campaigners against our business. While Mr. Bender purports to be a ‘local journalist.’ I have my doubt that he is part of your local team.
It is because you have chosen to publish Mr. Quinn’s article in our local print edition that I find myself writing to you. I would expect our local paper to seek the voice of local people who have been devastated by this decision to put many families in Campbell River out of work.
For the past 10 years the Federal government conducted scientific studies on the effects of the salmon farms on wild salmon. These studies were conducted by the government’s own experts. It was conducted without emotion and its aim was to find the facts. The government has spent almost $40m this work. These experts found that salmon farms in the Discovery Passage pose minimal risk to wild salmon.
The decision to remove the farms in the Discovery Islands region was not based on science – the government has acknowledged that. This decision will change the lives of hundreds of people living on the North Island. They face an uncertain future. The timing of the announcement is cruel and unkind - the week before Christmas and in the middle of a global pandemic. I hope these families know that there are people in their community that are concerned for them and that we are all here to support them, no matter what we believe.
While I understand that some Black Press content may not be created from the team in Campbell River, I would expect that your team, who are local to the area and aware of the importance of the aquaculture sector to the local community, would seek to raise the voices of local people affected by this devastating decision, and not repeatedly give those outside our community numerous and unchallenged opportunities to opine and pontificate.
I think it would be kind, at Christmas, for us all to have some sympathy for the families that now face an uncertain future because of a decision that was made based on emotion and that ignored science.
To assist you in finding these voices, we have created the hashtag #CoastalJobsGone on social media. There you will find many personal stories and faces on video that are affected by this latest news. I hope to read about these stories in our local paper soon.