Sunday, 23 February 2014

Fish Farm Sewage - Causes Algal Blooms, Updated Feb 25, 2014

As if there were not enough evidence that fish farms should be on land so their sewage and other problems are not fouling our pristine oceans, I have the staggering preliminary estimate of $10.4 Billion cost to the people of BC. If BC cancelled fish farm leases, in sixty days, farms would be on land and cause $0 sewage damage to the ocean and the people of BC.

There is has been so much fish farm sewage for the past decade, that even in the early 2000s, it started causing world wide problems. Read this World Wildlife Fund report from circa 2000: It makes sobering reading of fish farm sewage and its role in toxic algal blooms.

Also see, fish farm sewage causes damaging algal blooms:

"Salmon farm wastes may tip the ecological balance to such an extent that algal blooms become toxic. During the past decade, there has been a worldwide increase in marine microalgae that are harmful to finfish, shellfish and humans. Mass mortalities of farmed salmon have been recorded recently in the Chiloe area of Chile, Shetland in Scotland and in Norway where millions have died in their cages. Harmful algal blooms associated with intensive aquaculture operations have been recorded in Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Japan, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada and Chile. 

Amnesic, Paralytic and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning events have plagued the Scottish, Canadian, Irish, Chilean and Norwegian coasts. The international community have finally begun to tackle this issue. AQUATOXSAL, for example, is an EC-funded research project involving Chile, Argentina, France and Germany investigating the links between salmon farm wastes and toxic algal blooms. In Scotland, in response to a petition by marine toxicologist Allan Berry, the Scottish Executive have hired Professor Ted Smayda of the University of Rhode Island to assess "the impact of nutrient inputs from fish farms on the algal communities of the Scottish coastal zone". And in British Columbia the Pollution and Prevention and Remediation Branch of the BC Ministry of Environment hired consultants to "document emerging research with respect to plankton blooms and netcages". Other research has focused on the use of seaweeds to remove salmon farm waste, the addition of chemicals to 'neutralise' toxic wastes or the use of 'nappies' to collect wastes. In the final analysis, completely closed systems for the containment of contaminated wastes can be the only solution. The solution to pollution is not dilution."

The solution is getting fish farms out of our pristine oceans and putting them on land in closed containers. Next, the sewage post.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fish Farm Diseases - ISA in Norway and ETC.

AS I have said, ISA has been a constant in Norway for the past forty years.

Read this for February 2014:

There is still ISA in Chile: It has not gone away since Aqua Gen brought it from Norway, for firms like Marine Harvest and Cermaq Mainstream, wiping out the industry in 2008. A quarter of a billion dead salmon. There was no ISA in the Pacific, until the Norwegian industry brought it there.

There is ISA in Newfoundland, Canada: Aqua Gray has been sliding in and out of bankruptcy since summer 2013 due to ISA infections killing farmed salmon.

There is ISA in Atlantic Canada. Cooke Aquaculture got $13,000,000 for ISA diseased salmon in 2012:

ISA in NL and NS, Gray Aqua, Cooke Aquaculture, 2013:

Fish farm spin goes this way: there is no ISA in BC, there is no ISA in Chile... oh, darn, now there is ISA in BC, ISA in NL, NS, oh well, we'll just have to live with it. They have used this approach wherever there is not ISA, but then it shows up.

Seven different labs have shown ISA is in BC, the last place on earth where it should be because all wild Pacific salmon can be killed. In fact, BC's wild salmon have declined 50% since fish farms have set up shop in BC. They are still in the phase saying there is no ISA in BC.

The labs of Kristi Miller, Are Nylund and Fred Kibenge have all registered ISA in BC. Fish farms, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the BC disease testing system have all said there is no ISA in BC.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Key Document - Taxpayer Money for Diseased Dead Fish

This just in: "Since 1996, at least $135 Million has been paid by government to compensate industry for having to eradicate farmed salmon infected with ISA."


Now back to the original post: 

I now have reliable figures on slaughtered fish payments of your taxpayer dollars to billion dollar Norwegian derivative fish farms in BC, and others across Canada. Cermaq Mainstream, Marine Harvest and Grieg Seafood may be happy to hear I will eat some crow, as the BC figures are much lower than my earlier estimate.

The reason for having to make estimates is that fish farms typically do their best to prevent the public knowing how much taxpayer money they receive from us for diseased fish that foul our pristine oceans. Behind the scenes, they often have lawyers trying to keep such numbers, and in the BC case, the disease records for testing of their farms, from the public, as happened during the Cohen Commission. He didn’t buy it.

And in this case, it was precisely that, a fish farm legal injunction made my request wait 10 months before our taxpayer dollars were put in a table and sent to me. My estimate of $35 million in BC is incorrect. The payments to Cermaq Mainstream's IHN diseased Clayoquot Sound farmed salmon are: $2.64 Million for 959,498 diseased salmon (report date: Nov 2012); and, $201,000 for infected equipment and supplies (report date: Jan 2013). The total is $2.8 Million, or $3 per fish, not $30 per fish.

What has not made much news is that the Grieg Seafood open net operation in Sechelt also received payment for slaughtered IHN diseased fish: $1.61 Million for 312,032 diseased salmon (report date: Nov 2012); and, $152,000 for infected equipment and supplies (2013), or $5.60 per diseased salmon.

But get the bottom line: in little more than a year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency paid fish farms almost $50 Million taxpayer dollars for diseased slaughtered fish across Canada. 

You see, in addition to the figures I received, I noticed the St. John’s Telegram newspaper reported $33 Million of taxpayer money given to fish farms in Atlantic Canada for slaughtered diseased fish: Their table shows a bunch of handouts pretty close to the often-quoted CFIA $30 per fish.

In July 2013, Manuel's Arm, a Kelly Cove Salmon farm, was paid $23.96 per fish for 100,000 diseased fish, and its Pot Harbour/Hermitage Bay site was paid $8,232,000, or $23.52 per fish for 350,000 diseased fish in December 2012. In fact, the big story from the east is that at the same time fish are dying of ISA and other diseases and we’re paying for it, DFO is giving NL almost $400 million more taxpayer money to put in more open-net fish farms! What a waste. And one of the firms we gave money to, Gray Aqua, has been sliding in and out of bankruptcy proceedings since last summer.

The reasonable British Columbian has to ask: where is the money for BC’s wild salmon? We want $400 Million for habitat restoration. What is DFO actually spending here? DFO’s community habitat program for Vancouver Island is so small it is almost non-existent: $200,000. For all of BC it is $.9 M this year or .45% of the NL money. DFO: we want $400 Million for wild salmon here. Not simply the $1.8 M salmon licence money given to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, where the $400 M should go so BC once again takes control of its own fish with a made-in-BC program.

The real solution to fish farms is to get the old-tech dinosaurs out of the water, which the BC government can do in 60 days by cancelling leases. Even though fish farms say it can’t be done, I have a list of 65 different closed systems comprising more than 8,000 actual on-land farms around the world.

The most recent symposium on closed containment was in Virginia this past September. Tides Canada maintains a link to the plus fifty presentations. They are even doing closed containment science in Norway for Pete’s sake:

You may wonder why DFO backs in-ocean fish farms in BC at all. I sure do. And we all remember the Cohen Report recommended DFO be stripped of this conflict of interest and deal solely with wild salmon – the 2005 Wild Salmon Policy and 1986 Habitat Policy, with a new west coast director general for bringing back Fraser sockeye. None of these have happened since Report date of October 31, 2012.

It’s hard to fathom DFO’s interest in fish farms. Perhaps they believe what they and fish farms like to say: fish farms create employment and revenue. Well, I waited five years for the best source of info to update their numbers, and they show decisively that fish farms don’t contribute much of either.

The best stats, from BC Stats – that DFO paid for and put its name on, but acts as though they don’t exist – show this is not true. See:

In BC all aquaculture comprises a measly $61.9 Million of Gross Provincial Product, meaning only 9% of the fishing sector’s total of $667.4 M BC GPP contribution. Sport fishing is miles above at $325.7 M or 48.4%. And the employment that they talk of is similarly small at 1,700 or 12.2% in multiplier terms that include spin off jobs. The entire fish sector is 13,900 jobs, with sport fishing 60.4% at 8,400 jobs. The $400 Million for wild salmon restoration would do wonders for processing, commercial and sport fishing employment, not to mention the entire wild BC province.

And there’s more. I spotted a science paper that confirms what most supporters of wild salmon have always suspected: wild salmon stocks in BC have declined 50% since fish farms set up shop: The paper shows the same in Ireland, Scotland and Atlantic Canada. Note that Commercial sector employment has been cut 50%, 1,400 jobs, in the same time period.

So, I did some sleuthing and found that the actual number of real fish farm jobs in BC is a very small 795. Commercial job losses in the same period are 1,400 jobs due to the loss of wild salmon. So fish farm jobs likely eliminate jobs in other sectors, resulting in a net employment loss. The same can be said for revenue.

This does not add in losses in processing, and the sport sector from DFO allowing wild salmon to decline 50%. Little wonder the Cohen Commission said DFO is in a conflict of interest. His recommendation was that fish farm support needs to be eliminated and DFO should concentrate solely on the Wild Salmon Policy and its Habitat Policy.


BC Stats 2011 Report: Fish, Processing, Sport Fishing and Aquaculture Stats - Figures in Millions (and 2002 constant dollars, except for 2011 Revenue)

Contribution to GDP, and %
$102.3 (15.3%)
$177.5 (26.6)
$325.7 (48.8%)
$61.9  (9.3%)
(% of total)
1,400 (10.1%)
2,400 (17.3%)
8,400 (60.4%)
1,700 (12.2%)
Wages and Salaries
% of Total
Total 2011 Revenue (increase/decrease)
$344.8 (+4.1%)
$427.5 (+2.1%)
$936.5 (+0.8%)
Revenue % of Total

2.     My column on the BC Stats report:
A USA report says commercial and sport fishing is worth $199 Billion to the US economy and employs 1.7 million people: