Filed for publication with the Mirror
Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
After the expenditure of 26 million of taxpayer dollars, the Cohen Commission recommendations need to be acted upon immediately. We especially refer to recommendations 3, 12 and 13.
Cohen Commission Report, Volume 3, pg 12:
3. “The Government of Canada should remove from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ mandate the promotion of salmon farming as an industry and farmed salmon as a product.”
Cohen Commission Report, Volume 3, pg 19 & 20:
12. “For research purposes beyond routine monitoring, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should require, as a condition of licence, that the operator of a salmon farm provide, on reasonable demand by DFO, fish samples, including live fish or fresh silvers (recently deceased fish), in a quantity and according to a protocol specified by DFO.”
13. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans should give non-government scientific researchers timely access to primary fish health data collected through DFO’s routine monitoring programs, including data that relate to farmed or wild salmon.”
“Also in relation to DFO’s collection of fish samples from salmon farms, I note that, beyond routine auditing, DFO has not accounted for the need for fish samples for research. This gap became apparent in the testimony of DFO research scientist Dr. Kristina Miller about her difficulty accessing samples of farmed Atlantic salmon to test for a mortality-related signature, or parvovirus (see description of mortality-related signature in Volume 2, Chapter 4, Decline-related evidence). The ability of DFO researchers to request and promptly receive fish samples – either live fish or fresh silvers (recently deceased fish) – from salmon farms is crucial to support a proactive research agenda that meets DFO’s conservation mandate for wild stocks.”
“The privilege of being allowed to conduct a business that poses risk to wild stocks should carry a concomitant requirement to provide access to government scientists for research purposes beyond the scope of routine monitoring.”
The Campbell River Environmental Committee (CREC) would appreciate your governments intentions and timetable in implementing these recommendations.