While Nancy Greene has taken a stance to push in-ocean fish farms, there is a lot of science that she likely does not know. And I doubt she realizes she is taking a stand against wild BC salmon. The bullets from my article yesterday are discussed here, with links for readers to go and read the documents and come to their own conclusions.
It would be good for Raine and the other senators to get a more balanced look at the issues than what DFO and fish farms present. Nancy, please look at these issues more closely, and then stand on the side of wild BC salmon:
1. DFO is conflicted: DFO is conflicted in supporting the industry over wild salmon. Cohen told them in bold face recommendation 3 of his 1200 page report, Vol 3, Chapter 2 page 12: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/206/301/pco-bcp/commissions/cohen/cohen_commission/LOCALHOS/EN/PDF/FINALREPORT/COHENCOMMISSIONFINALREPORT_V_27.PDF, that DFO had to be stripped of supporting farmed fish and get on with the priority of protecting wild Pacific salmon.
“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.”
This is clear and unequivocal. Nancy Greene Raine and the other senators on the fish committee need to read what Cohen said. His 75 recommendations are in Volume 3, Chapter 2 and 3. Twenty two of them, almost a third, are about fish farms.
Governments, scientists and testing systems are in conflicts of interest with fish farms. Staff and resources circulate from the companies to governments, and monitoring systems deal with farms as clients rather than being adversarial like police. Fish farms fund lots of research, conflicting scientists. And Cohen evidence showed clearly that fish farms, governments, both provincial and federal, and scientists are in conflict of interest with one another. For example, Clare Blackman worked for the provincial siting body, and now works for Marine Harvest. Cohen evidence shows the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not want to find ISA and other diseases in farmed salmon. Their Moncton lab was shown not able to find ISA.
Fish farms aren’t about jobs and revenue. Fish farms says there is $800 million in revenue and 6,000 jobs in BC. This is not true. The only real report, from BC Stats, ironically has DFO’s name on it but DFO does not say so, shows categorically that fish farms result in few jobs and very low revenue. The Report says all BC aquaculture results in a measly $61.9 Million in BC GPP, while the other parts of the fishing sectors – sport, commercial, processing – contribute 600% more at $605.5 Million, a full 90% of the contribution to GPP: http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/BusinessIndustry/FisheriesAquacultureHuntingTrapping.aspx.
When you consider that the commercial sector has dropped 1,400 jobs since fish farms set up shop, and wild salmon are down 50%, this strongly suggests that fish farms don’t result in increased employment at all. Wild salmon disappear and fish farms jobs replace those lost in other sectors.
Let me add that the real number of actual jobs in fish farms is far below the econometric analysis, with its multipliers, suggests. I was astonished to sleuth out there are only 795 actual jobs in BC fish farming. That’s all – nowhere near 6,000 – in fact there are only 13% of what they claim.
Almost double the employment has been lost from the commercial sector alone. This results in fewer processing jobs, and impacts sport jobs and revenues, too. Let’s assume a marginal 10%: this means 840 jobs from sport’s 8,400 multiplier jobs and 240 from processing’s 2,400, since 50% of the wild salmon died in the presence of fish farms. See: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2013/02/sport-fishing-how-we-tack-up-feb-6-2013.html.
And, once fish farms set up lighting and feed machines, employment drops, and herring and wild salmon have been lured into the nets at night, some eaten, and some in the presence of disease and the ever-present lice. These are the public’s fish, and they are the ones we care about. Lights out.
The BC Stats report says all of aquaculture has only 1,700 jobs only 1530 in fish farms. Add the loss in the other sectors together, 840 + 240 + 1,400, and the total realistic loss is 2,480 jobs in the rest of the fishing sector. This strongly suggests that fish farms replace jobs they eliminate rather than adding anything to the province’s job numbers. And do remember this is not the actual number of jobs in fish farming – only 795, less than half. We would have more than 300% more jobs in the other parts of the fishing sector, if fish farms were eliminated and DFO took substantial action on the Wild Salmon Policy as Cohen told them to.
Fish farms are not about jobs and revenue. They are a boom bust industry. Most importantly, it is the workers who suffer the job losses – the very people Raine seeks to employ. 13,000 to 26,000 workers lost their jobs in Chile circa 2008 from its ISA outbreak (63 workers were killed working at fish farms, too). And what do you do with a quarter billion dead fish? Here in BC Marine Harvest let staff go just before Christmas a couple of years ago. The problem? Kudoa, Marine Harvest lost $12,000,000 last year to Kudoa. In fact, BC has way more of this parasite than Norway.
In fact, employment has been stagnant and declined in BC fish farms since 2001, more than a decade – that is how much the citizens of BC don’t want fish farms in our waters. This opposition by the people of BC is only getting stronger, that’s why fish farm fish can’t be sold in BC. No one will buy it. It can only be sold in the USA. See the BC Stats document: file:///C:/Users/Norman/Downloads/British%20Columbias%20Fisheries%20and%20Aquaculture%20Sector%202012%20Edition%20(3).pdf. See the graph on P33 of the document (P38 of the PDF).
The USA sales, 85% of BC farmed fish, will go down, and BC farms will continue in their stagnant state regardless of what they or DFO may want: the US has dropped a 26% duty on Norwegian farmed fish, so the parent companies of the BC industry, are aggressively selling into the market, thus ruining the sales of BC farms; the parent companies of the BC industry have listed on the New York Stock exchange looking for money to expand in the USA, against their own interests in BC; and Chile has reached a peak of production, and virtually all is sold into the USA market, further killing the BC industry, some of which is, again, the parent companies of the BC industry. It is a boom bust industry, and the companies play one country off against the other. They don’t really care what happens to the BC industry as there is another 22 countries out there, for Marine Harvest, for instance.
Chile, as explained in this document, is using antibiotics to the level it did just before the ISA crash in 2008. I follow global fish farm news so closely I am often three to six months out in front of Oslo and Bloomberg brokers whose job it is to forecast share prices.
Fish Farms want expansion when they don’t use what they already have. Fish farms want to expand 19,140 metric tonnes right now but they don’t use what they already have, putting out a max of 83,000 even though they have 280,000 mt authorized. They have never used their current capacity, so why do they want more? This does not make sense unless these will be sold off as quota on a spot market, as they are in Norway at 10 million crowns (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/27/cermaq-results-salmon-idINL6N0GS1JB20130827&ct=ga&cd=MTYzMTIzODk2Njg4MjY5OTk2MTM&cad=CAEYAA&usg=AFQjCNHTJSbrmgQSUu29zH43D2OHu6g9vQ), or it improves share prices, sometime in the future. The people of BC do not support selling off of free quota for big bucks. We want wild salmon. In Chile, it has been noted that fish farms want more sites because they need to move from diseased areas that they create. See: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2013/11/04/six-of-chiles-top-salmon-companies-using-just-13-of-concessions/
On-land fish farms solve all the problems of having them in the ocean. Fish farms say it can’t be done because of land cost, electricity cost and etc. This is not true, they just want to continue using the ocean as a free, open sewer. On-land recirculating systems use one tenth of the electricity by using a heat pump. They use less land because fish tanks can be stacked one on top of the other. And the fish are protected from all ocean diseases and their own diseases are isolated from other fish, a huge improvement.
With tank covers, the sewage methane can be collected, used to make electricity or heat, and the excess put back into the grid to make money. Water temperature can be set to maximum growth, unlike the ocean that varies all over the place, hardly ideal. Same with optimal photo-period. The sewage can grow hydroponic vegetables for cash. Or be composted and sold for cash. Recirculating the water saves up to 98% of it. Putting in a current makes the fish line up and thus more fish can be put in the tank, making even more money. In fact, I have a list of 66 different on-land systems comprising more than 8,100 on-land fish farms around the world.
In-ocean fish farms are old-tech dinosaurs compared with on-land systems. See my list: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2012/01/key-document-34-mostly-on-land-closed.html. The last major conference on closed containment was held in Shepherdstown, Virginia, in September, 2013. Tides Canada has the more than 50 presentations here: http://tidescanada.org/salmon/aquaculture-innovation-workshops-and-reports/. Even Norway, where the BC industry is from, is doing closed-containment studies, for Pete’s sake.
Fish farm sewage costs are astronomical. In-ocean fish farms have high sewage costs– for the expansions current 19,140 metric tonne, almost a billion dollars, at $924 million. The cost for the current industry, is $10.4 Billion, and if they used the full current authorized tonnage, it triples to more than $30 Billion that the people of BC absorb, and thus pay for.
And the senators want to triple the size of the industry? Nobody wants to pay for the current sewage dumped into our ocean, let alone triple the tripled cost of fish farm sewage. I have looked at sewage treatment in North America and Europe, and it comes clear that no one wants to pay a bean for anyone else’s sewage. Why would we pay for fish?
Fish farms produce more sewage than the entire human populations of many countries, Scotland and Norway included. It’s pretty even in BC, too.
Fish farms kill seals, sea lions, and other animals. My estimate is 11,469 until 2011 – at least the ones they count. Greene may not know that many of these sentient creatures drown and realize they are drowning when they are caught in the nets. The rest are humanely dispatched with a bullet through the head – if you think that’s humane.
I keep asking for the autopsy of that whale found dead in a fish farm net last year on Vancouver Island, but DFO keeps telling me it isn’t available. Hmm.
And in Skuna Bay where Grieg tries on the ‘we are sustainable, organic’ spin, 65 sea lions were killed and they got a fine for so doing of $100,000. So a sea lion is worth $1,538 to DFO and fish farms. Many would say that should have been the day all fish farms came out of the water. And, get this, they don’t count otters, seagulls, eagles and so on. Watch this seagull die in a fish farm net: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spdesooY2dY.
DFO’s own report shows that harbour seals are basically extirpated where there are fish farms. As seals don’t migrate more than 10 km, when the kill stats go down, it means local extinction, not ‘nuisance’ seals moving on and fish farms not killing as many – you cannot kill what you have already killed.
The DFO report said the figures I used are conservative and that killing seals, sea lions, and other pinnipeds must stop: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2011/10/marine-mammals-killed-by-fish-farms-in.html. But the killing goes on, in BC and all over the world – Marine Harvest operates in 22 countries. And fish farms want to expand in the ocean in BC?
Fish farm diseases. There are several dozen fungal, microbial and viral diseases. Because the fish are packed together, this stresses them, cortisone is released which is an immune system depressant, and then they pick up any old infection and among the million fish, it gets reproduced so many times that it changes to a virulent strain and all the fish die. Then taxpayers pay for them – $5.56 million for dead diseased fish in BC last year - $50 million across Canada, last year. Government paid $135 million of our tax money on the east coast since 1990. We don’t want to pay.
But we care about wild fish. Here is an example: Dr. Kristi Miller, on the Cohen record, showed that 25% of farmed chinook in Clayoquot Sound had both HSMI and ISA (both are Norwegian diseases that should not be in the North Pacific – DFO let them in on eggs). That is roughly 125,000 per farm. There are 22 farms in Clayoquot Sound, and it is a UN biosphere reserve.
How many wild fish are there? DFO’s number is a pitiful 501 chinook in six streams in 2012 and the Kennedy Lake sockeye run was wiped out in the early nineties and has not come back. Little wonder why. Same outcome for those Owikeno sockeye in Rivers Inlet, where the first two ISA positives for wild sockeye fry came from.
In Chile, ISA resulted in Cermaq reportedly losing $323 million, while Marine Harvcst lost 1.4 billion Euros. A quarter of a billion dead salmon. ISA is only one disease. There is IHN, IPN, Kudoa, SLV, PRV, HSMI. The list goes on.
Cohen on fish diseases. When the two Routledge Owikeno sockeye fry came back with a weak positive, and inconclusive from the Gagnon lab in Moncton; with a positive, with more work needed from Are Nylund in Norway; and, a positive on the same fry From Kibenge in PEI, DFO and the CFIA were rocked.
Then, thankfully, someone leaked a DFO report – the Kibenge report – showing ISA in BC waters. DFO saddled Cohen with 500,000 documents but missed its own report on the worst fish farm disease – they considered all results were false positives – but should have sent the document to Cohen anyway, but did not.
DFO’s scientist Kristi Miller and her viral signature work, showed that ISA was in Fraser sockeye back to 1988 – and recently, some sockeye components died up to 90% on the spawning beds from PRV. Cohen reopened the already closed Commission, strictly on fish farm disease issues, and out spilled all the evidence on fish farm diseases, particularly, ISA and HSMI, (soon followed by PRV) and then IHN in Clayoquot Sound last year, for which we the taxpayer paid multinational billion dollar corporations $5.56 million for their diseased fish.
Incidentally, Minister Ashfield, changed the Gagnon finding to negative – perhaps on the semantic issue of having a virus does not mean having a disease. In other words he mis-spoke, saying something he knew not to be true. He should have reported his own lab’s words, and DFO ignores, in public, the Miller evidence and the two world class labs of Nylund and Kibenge, finding the same thing.
Here is the point: the North Pacific is the worst place in the world to have fish farms. That is because there are 10 species of wild salmonids from California, up through BC, Alaska and all the way down the west north Pacific shore to Korea, perhaps a billion fish. Fish farms should not have been let in the water here as now all those wild fish could be lost. More fish farms means Greene’s support could help result in the biggest manmade fish disaster in history.
Globally, aquaculture loses one third to one half of all aquaculture products to disease. The main conclusion of the following Kibenge document, slide 36, is that Aquatic animal disease is part and parcel of aquaculture. See: http://www.oie.int/eng/A_aquatic/Docs/Presentations/1.11Kibenge.ppt.
In Chile, they use antibiotics by the tonne, literally. During the climax of the ISA crisis in 2007, the industry used 385.6 metric tonnes of antibiotics. In 2010 that fell to 143; and in 2012 it climbed again to 337.9. See: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2013/11/04/six-of-chiles-top-salmon-companies-using-just-13-of-concessions/.
To put such use in perspective, that is: 743,380 pounds of antibiotics. Disease follows fish farms. ISA has pretty much been constant in Norway since the industry fish changed a freshwater ISA virus to a virulent saltwater form in the 1980s. If you read global fish farm news, you find that Chile is on the edge of another ISA disaster which they don’t report on much – remember those ‘strict laws’, well, they tend not to mention those in the same breath as the reports of ISA come in – but the antibiotic use is the evidence of tonnes of disease.
Public opposition: There comes a point everywhere in the world when the people realize fish farms kill wild fish, trash the ocean and the people want them out of the water. This has happened in BC, NS, NB, Scotland, Ireland, Norway itself, the Faroe Islands and will, shortly, in the USA, in Maine. In Denmark they have already moved 50% of fish farms onto land. I just received a request for my research from a newspaper in Tasmania, Australia.
We need, and our wild BC salmon and all the species that depend on them, need us to get fish farms out of the water. If they want to set up shop on land and control their problems, that’s fine, if they want to go home that would be better. The Norwegian coast, is like BC, long fjords, and the genetic damage has ruined the wild Atlantic salmon in rivers, and the sewage is so bad it is more than all the people in Norway. Just as it is in Scotland and pretty much the same in BC.
In fact, the public being against fish farms has become a global movement with citizens reaching out to find each other around the world and become better informed. This is how I found out that in Atlantic Canada taxpayers, meaning us, paid $135 Million to fish farms for their dead diseased fish – including BC, the past year’s payment was over $50 million. No one wants to pay a dime of our tax money on fish farms that kill their fish with disease caused by too high density. They need to be on land. And the bigger the farms, the bigger the problem.
Sea lice chemicals: Sea lice kill a third of wild salmon fry in Ireland. See: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2013/12/sea-lice-kill-34-of-wild-salmon-smolts.html. and spread disease to wild salmonids and other species. Sea lice are so bad in Norway that over the past decade sea lice treatments have gone up 80 fold to 8403 kg in 2013: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2013/11/04/six-of-chiles-top-salmon-companies-using-just-13-of-concessions/. Norwegian fish farms spent $169.9 million on sea lice chemicals in 2012: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153897426145355&set=gm.692596037418467&type=1.
In the first week in April, 2014 Marine Harvest in Norway announced that it was forgoing putting in smolts because it feared a full $4 billion loss with all the fish dying from sea lice. This article was pulled from the internet in less than a week (I know because I query other people who follow global fish farm news and they confirmed this); then CEO Aarskog announced that sea lice were the biggest problem in Norway, and for anybody with a solution to get in touch with him asap. This is right now in 2014, the CEO of Marine Harvest, the same Marine Harvest that operates in BC in 2014, right now.
In Norway, sea lice are resistant to lice chemicals and it lobbied the EU to accept an endosulfan limit in fish that is one hundred times higher than before. And the PCB, dioxin, and PCB like cancer causing chemicals, level is also a factor of ten above all other meat type products in Europe. See the graph, it is not pretty: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/11/dear-minister-of-health-farmed-salmon-toxins.html
Endosulfan is banned world wide by the UN. This has a good all-around discussion: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2013/06/12/norway-to-pass-eu-law-on-higher-toxin-level-in-salmon-feed/.
Back in Canada, in Nova Scotia, Cooke Aquaculture was done for using the illegal lice chemical, cypermethrin for two years. When the news hit – facing a $33 million fine and up to 99 years in jail – Cooke said it wanted to study the case evidence – a common fish farm tactic – and within a few months of silence, the NS government gave Cooke $25 million for aid.
After receiving the $25 million, Cooke ultimately paid a $500,000 fine from Kelly Cove farms for using illegal chemicals for two years. This kind of behavior, and money from government, is all too common in fish farming in Canada. Read on.
But first, in Chile, Cermaq lost 15% of its Atlantic salmon crop to lice circa 2012-13: http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/27/cermaq-results-salmon-idINL6N0GS1JB20130827. And Chile is openly acknowledged as the dirtiest fish farm country in the world – increasingly moving south to operate largely within the pristine Patagonia United Nations biospheres. In main production areas to the north, the limiting factors are: disease, lice and fish farm pollution. When production hits 650,000 mt no more fish can be grown because ‘nature’ kills them all.
In fact, the entire industry in Chile lost 15% of its crop in 2013 to lice: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2014/02/06/chile-salmon-enters-make-or-break-year/. At its peak level of 650,000 mt that means they lose more than the entire harvest, and largest output ever recorded in BC, to lice. That is how bad sea lice problems are. But the people of BC don’t really care about fish farm fish deaths, we care about wild salmonids, and there are 10 species that can be killed by lice – and other non-salmonids like herring.
So what is happening in BC? Here, DFO has announced that it will drop from the already environmentally gutted Fisheries Act, S 36 – for releasing deleterious substances into water – to give the fish farms the right to try any chemical they want.
The annual Norwegian cost to treat sea lice is $170 million and world wide over $300 million. Cypermethrin kills lobsters – and that was how it was determined that Cooke had been illegally using it in its Kelly Cove farms – as well as other crustaceans, for example, crab and shrimp. Krill, shrimp-like crustaceans, are the step above plankton in the wild salmon food chain in BC. See: http://www.pesticide.org/get-the-facts/pesticide-factsheets/factsheets/cypermethrin. We don’t want them killed.
Do note that the article shows that cypermethrin causes gene mutation, organ abnormalities and cancers in mammals. The chemical is suspected to be carcinogenic in humans.
The strictest laws in the world. You will find that governments and fish farms around the world repeatedly use the phrase: ‘fish farms operate under the strictest (or among the strictest) environmental laws in the world’ in the country in question, (when anyone complains about their environmental damage). The claim is not true because, in the past year, fish farms have said this in Chile, Scotland, Norway and Canada. As the laws are different in each country, the claim cannot be true.
And, of course, Chile is acknowledged as the dirtiest fish farm country in the world, euphemistically referred to as having ‘sanitary problems’. Not to mention that it may have laws, but that is a different thing from enforcing the laws, for example, read fish farm news in Chile and you will find, that though its chemical use is high, Chile does not report most cases of ISA.
In Canada, the claim is even more untrue because the laws don’t apply all the way across the country. There are different jurisdictions operative on the west coast and on the east coast, both federal and provincial.
Furthermore, in Canada, the claim is more untrue because the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act were both gutted a year ago in a federal omnibus bill (an egregious occurrence in itself). But it is even worse than this. Minister Shea and the DFO ADMs state in the senate video noted in this article, that S 36 of the Fisheries Act – already gutted a year ago – will be further gutted so that fish farms will be able to use whatever deleterious substances they want – say, SLICE, cypermethrin, endosulfan, hydrogen peroxide – on lice and for other reasons.
And there has been a call for an Aquaculture Act, presumably to eliminate the provincial laws, further weaken laws against the use of chemicals and permit fish farms to use the ocean as a free open sewer, as they do now around the world. Here’s another Canadian nuance: from time to time you will see the Norwegian CEOs saying in the press that there need to be rules to deal with aboriginals in Canada, meaning they don’t want to have to deal with each individual First Nation. They want them rounded up, I suppose. Are they cowboys?
There is another issue: as soon as fish farms claim the laws are the strictest in the world, they then use that as an excuse to argue that the laws are too strict and to keep jobs and revenue in the country in a competitive world, the laws need to be relaxed. Or they will move on, which they do anyway because fish farms are a boom bust industry. Marine Harvest operates in 22 countries, and disease takes one third to one half of all aquaculture animals, as noted in the Kibenge presentation.
And as I have said, the enforcement staff in BC are swamped with duties and few in number. I may see one every five years or so in the field. And, of course, laying off scientists means that other duties with respect to fish farms also do not get done.
My suggestion to Nancy Greene Raine is that she Google: fish farm environmental damage, and start reading. She will find the information I mention in this article. The other senators need to have their eyes opened as well. For example, the most recent request I have had from world media, just a few days ago, is from Tasmania, Australia. Local governments believe the ‘jobs and revenue’ mantra, but the people are now reaching out around the world, to find information because they want to stop the industry there. The movement is now global.
I suggest that someone who knows Nancy Greene Raine sit her down and tell her that it is wrong to stand against wild BC salmon. And her name is going to be badly tarnished by associating herself with fish farms. She should be on the side of the up to 90% of sockeye dying from PRV on some Fraser tributary spawning beds, too diseased to spawn. Ask DFO to stand by wild BC salmon, and eliminate fish farms from our pristine waters. They sure don’t stand by wild BC salmon right now in 2014.
· Just as this article goes to ‘press’, the Namgis First Nation has announced it has just changed the entire game for fish farming in BC and around the world. What terrific timing – just as DFO was throwing open our pristine ocean for in-ocean fish farms and their huge environmental damage, land-based Atlantics are now on stream and selling for a premium as an environmentally safe product.
Our aboriginal friends are standing up for wild salmon and our environment. This is one fish farm system that I, Nancy Greene Raine and the citizens of BC can support. Well done Chief Bill Cranmer and the Namgis First Nation, Port McNeill, BC. See: Link to News Release.