Friday, 21 November 2014

Key Document: CFIA Testing of Wild Pacific Salmon - Alexandra Morton

I will shortly put up a post on why we should be concerned about the CFIA recently analyzing more than 7000 Pacific salmon and finding no ISA or IPN. We would like to be happy, but there are unanswered questions from the Cohen Commission, that need a public reply.

However, the Alexandra Morton post on the specific scientific tests used by the CFIA does such a good, detailed, thorough job, you should read it. The link is:

I will shortly go through the Cohen Commission fish farm disease testimony, which is evidentiary and thus, cannot be walked away from by DFO, the CFIA or others. The gist of the discussion among the experts on salmon/farmed salmon diseases, Doctors Miller, Kibenge and Nylund, cast doubt on the ability of the CFIA/DFO Moncton lab to find ISA. Each of these labs found ISA in BC.

And Miller's Viral Signature work looks at the phenotype of disease rather than PCR testing and culture of viruses. Some of the so affected Fraser sockeye died of pre-spawn mortality on their way up the river. As much as 90% of some run subcomponents died.

Also, several labs have found ISA in BC, so there is a need for an independent, reliable lab with no financial or other ties to fish farms, to do this testing. One main recommendation of the Cohen Commission was that DFO be stripped of its conflicting role of supporting fish farms, and to concentrate on wild salmon recovery. The CFIA also admitted it did not want to find disease. This is on the record. Just go read volume three.

The CFIA's post on the testing is here:. Read: They are going to look at farmed salmon next. It is impressive until you start peeling back the layers.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Key Document: The strictest laws in the world? Not in Canada

NAFTA's Commission On Environmental Cooperation 'Dying A Slow Death': Ex-Director

Previous posts on this blog regarding fish farms saying they operate under the strictest laws in the world can be found in the index to this site and include the posts to Nancy Greene Raine from earlier this year. The point is that Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood, and others, don’t operate under the strictest environmental laws in Scotland, Norway, Chile and Canada and other nations. And, once the claim is made, they lobby behind the scenes for getting rid of the laws, as is happening in Canada.
In Canada, in particular, the laws have been weakened for several years, including the Fisheries Act, the Canada Environmrntal Assessment Act, and now the NAFTA agreement council looking into complaints about the environmental damage of in-ocean fish farms has been neutered in Canada by the federal government.

"This institution [Commission on Environmental Cooperation] doesn't have the tools it needs to do anything effective," said Geoff Garver, who headed the organization's enforcement branch from 2000 to 2007 and served on its public advisory board until recently. "It's dying a slow death."

The complaint against fish farms: "Canada has also been accused of harming wild salmon stocks by allowing viruses from fish farms to spread.

In a letter to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, the Environment Ministry said this about the salmon complaint: "We do not intend to engage in or recognize as valid ... any further consideration of this submission."

Ecojustice has written the commission off, said Koehl. "Given how this has all played out over the last decade, we don't have any confidence in their petition process.””
So, in Canada, in addition to the fisheries and environment laws being substantially weakened with respect to fish farm pollution, diseases, chemicals and other issues, the federal government is bringing in ‘aquaculture activities regulations’ that allow the industry complete control over sewage, environmental damage and other discharges.
And, now, has refused to take action on fish farm sewage and diseases in the NAFTA panel that it set up.
Fish farms, despite claims to the contrary, don’t operate under the strictest environmental laws in Canada, or other countries, where, in particular, environmental damage has been so great in Norway where the companies come from they no longer have new areas to site farms, and in Chile, widely acknowledged to be the dirtiest fish farm country in the world, where, sadly, the pristine Patagonia region is being tapped for more farms. News reports that companies want the new leases because pollution and disease in other areas means they need totally new areas that have never been farmed where they can spread out into.

Fish farms want to be in BC because our coastline is fjords – which don’t flush – just like Norway where it is acknowledged that 7 of 10 lice chemicals no longer work, and the industry puts out more untreated sewage than the entire human population of 8 million people.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Key Document: World Wildlife Foundation Certification for In-Ocean Fish Farm Doesn't Mean Much

Go read this glowing news report on Tasmania fish farms:

The problem here is that the WWF sanctions in-ocean fish farms rather than making them come out of the ocean to receive an award. So their awards mean nothing, because it allows for the only important issue to be disregarded.

A year or so ago, they, WWF, asked for comment on what they were doing and I told them that the detailed nature of the request would require me to work for a week to respond to their going to go the way of allowing fish farms to stay in the ocean rather than come out and be on land.

Their response to me, and this is the WWF, the World Wildlife Foundation, was that this was a start. I just shook my head. Fish farms have no intention of coming out of the water, and will oppose any such measure calling for several decades for more science because, as they will say, there is not enough science to prove that pulling farms out of Tasmamia, where they have no science, and that another several decades of science is required.

There are two problems: fish farms pay for science that agrees with them; and, they have no intention of coming out of the ocean because it allows them to use the ocean as a free open sewer, and they will argue that cleaning up their sewage, or come on land, will make them move to another country.

The WWF has given away the only real solution to fish farms - they need to be on land, or go back to Norway.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Globe and Mail - BC Farm-Raised Salmon Advertisement, Nov 5, 2014, Page S3

The BC Salmon Farmer’s Association continues to make assertions about open-net fish farms that don’t agree with the science. It is surprising the industry, lead companies including the Norwegian, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood, uses the same spin they have been doing for decades and simply ignore the evidence.

My guess is the timing of the ad is just before the federal government will announce the aquaculture activities regulations that allow fish farms to continue using the ocean as a free open sewer and even further allow them to release other chemicals, not to mention, as some pundits taking DFO to court put it, they will be allowed to kill wild salmon.

This is a race to the bottom because fish farms like to say they operate under the strictest laws in the world, and then behind the scenes argue to get rid of them. In the past year, fish farms have made the claim in Chile, Scotland, Norway and Canada.

The claim is false because every country has its own laws. And in Canada the laws have already been weakened. The Fisheries Act S-35, and S-36, were gutted last year along with the Canadian Environmental  Assessment Act, 2012: Enforcement staff numbers are too low and 200 scientists have been laid off.
Look at the index to my blog and you can find the references to the points I am making: I summarize 20,000 pages of fish farm environmental damage science.

I will walk you through the ad as I see it and you can draw your own conclusions. Bold faced material is the ad.

Ad: BC Farm-Raised Salmon: Globally sustainable, Ecologically smart.

Well, no. Sustainability usually refers to feed sourced from non-fish sources – salmon are carnivores. However, the industry has contributed to the great decline of small fish – that could be food for third world human beings – and really has no choice but to change. Chile’s anchovy stocks were eliminated by the industry there, mostly the Norwegians.

Now, with declining stocks of mack jack mackerel, as well as anchovy stocks off Peru, the protein sources for fish feed are changing. For example, EWOS, is now using increasing amounts of chicken feathers in its feed. Do you want to eat chicken feathers? These have been shown to contain an array of pharmaceutical fluoroquinolones.

Other feed companies are now in pristine Antarctica waters fishing down the food chain by stripping the ocean of krill, which supports the entire chain, even baleen whales.

Then of course there are the disease and lice problems; that farm fish have such high fat content it is higher than pizza; and, PCBs, Dioxins and POPs, some of which cause cancer. In Norway the big news this year is scientists and doctors telling people not to eat farmed fish because of the cancer causing chemicals in it – largely from fish meal. One third to one half of all aquaculture products are lost to disease every year:

Also, seven of 10 chemicals no longer work on fish farm lice in Norway. Sustainable? I think not.

And no to: Ecologically smart. In-ocean fish farms are old-tech dinosaurs that refuse to come out of the water because they can use it as a free open sewer. The smart solution of putting fish farms on land, the industry persistently refuses to do (even though neighbour, Denmark, already has pulled 50% out of water). Among other articles, look at the Shepherdstown, Virginia conference on closed containment, on-land, recirculating fish farms that took place in September 2013. There are easily 50 science presentations on getting fish farms out of the water. See the Tides Canada post in:

In fact, the public who live with fish farms in their waters want them out. The articles on my index will lead you to citizen protest in BC, Atlantic Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Chile, Tasmania and Norway itself. In BC, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition to get fish farms out of our waters:

Oh, and, do note that my preliminary estimate of the sewage put into public waters, that taxpayers bear the cost of, is $10.4 billion in BC alone. In Scotland and Norway itself the indexed references show that farmed fish produce more sewage than the entire human populations of those countries. Eco smart? I don’t think so.

And the Skuna Bay fish farm in Nootka Sound BC show another non-eco point. They did what was done in Scotland: continue and continue to claim it is a special system of environmentally sound and organic fish. And what happened? They killed 65 sea lions, the males reaching a ton, by drowning them in their nets. They were fined $100,000.

Ad: How will the world feed a population projected to grow to nine billion by 2050?

Well it certainly won’t be through fish farm fish because they are too expensive for those in third world countries to buy. They are only sold in rich countries. In Chile for instance, the anchovy stocks should have been used to feed the people, not made into fish feed. And the disease problems led to a collapse of the industry in 2008 putting 13,000 to 26,000 third world employees out of jobs and the loss of a quarter of a billion diseased dead fish.

Ad: Salmon are the most efficient eaters on any farm – land or water.

What fish farms don’t tell you is that their estimates of 1.1 – 1.3 kilograms of feed to produce 1 kg of farmed fish, is that it is a comparison of dried out fish feed. The more commonly accepted comparison is four to five pounds of actual fish to produce one pound of farmed fish. Not so efficient. And do look at the hog comparisons from Carolina.

Ad: Farming efficiency is critical for the future of our food, water, and land.

As above, fish farms are only marginally efficient because they don’t have to carry sewage treatment costs. As far as I know, no other form of farming is allowed to dump sewage into another person’s property or the public’s air or water. When that cost is added in, the revenue and jobs pale in comparison.

Ad: And farming salmon is one of the most climate conscious of all farming practices. 

What this merely means is that farmed salmon can only be produced in cold water. They cannot be produced in most of the world that has warm water.

Ad: with the smallest carbon footprint. 

Again, when you add the sewage costs in, the carbon footprint in many countries is as much as all the sewage of all the human beings in the country. In BC, for instance, my estimate of $10.4 billion comes in at the same sewage cost, and sewage volume equivalent, as for 4.8 million British Columbians – the total population is 4.6. Any expansion will make the carbon foot print much larger than all the human sewage.

Ad: Salmon farming in BC accounts for $800 million toward the provincial economy and generates 6,000 jobs in coastal communities.

Sorry, wrong again. Fish farms and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have been using these incorrect figures for a long time. The only good statistics out there are put out by BC Stats. See this post for the summary figures and link to the study:

The contribution to the BC economy from all of aquaculture (mussels, oysters, clams, seaweed, etc. and farmed fish combined) is a very small $61.9 Million. DFO knows this as its name is on the front cover of the report.In fact, the commercial, processing and sport industries comprise 90% of the sector’s contribution to the BC economy, more than $600 million. 

And that 6,000 employment? BC Stats figure is much smaller at 1,700 – and this is a multiplier number of jobs across the entire economy. It is the only trustable figure out there. Oh, and fish farming has been stagnant in the recent past. And its only market is the States (85% of its product) because Canadians won’t eat farmed fish. It may well be put out of business by its own parent companies that have had a 26% tariff eliminated in the States, and by floating a money raising bond in the USA to set up there – the only real market for BC.

At the same time, the commercial sector has lost 1,700 jobs. In other words the evidence suggests that fish farming does not add anything to BC jobs because it simply eliminates jobs in other sectors. In BC, 50% of wild salmon have been eliminated since fish farms set up shop. See:

And just so that you know, DFO did not like the 1,700 multiplier job number, so it scaled it up by 250% to 3,900. So that and the 6,000 number are simply bunk.

And the kicker to this is that I ferreted out the actual number of fish farms jobs in BC. It is only 795 actual jobs. This is only 13.25% of what the industry claims.

So fish farm jobs and revenue numbers are far lower than claimed, and the environmental damage is excessive. I have a table where I have collected 70 fish farm systems, mostly on land around the world, comprising more than 8,000 actual fish farms that are on land. See:

Go look at all the references. You will come to the conclusion that fish farms are not good for BC, Canada or the world. They need to come out of the water or go back to Norway.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Key Document: Fish Farms Eliminate Jobs, Citizens Complain: Laws too Weak

I have pointed out in posts on this site that fish farms do not result in net new employment, but rather the opposite: they eliminate other jobs and replace some of them, for a net negative result.

The BC stats report on the economic effect of the fishing sector has useful stats on this point. You can find it here in the index to this blog:

The BC Stats multiplier number for the commercial fishing sector is 1700, as is the  entire aquaculture sector (fish farm employment is a only part of this sector's employment). But the commercial sector has lost 1700 jobs in the time fish farms have been in BC, strongly suggesting that fish farms don't result in new jobs at all, but just replace some of the jobs they eliminate. The reference is in this document:

Since fish farms set up in BC, 50% of wild salmon have been lost, little wonder why the commercial sector has been in decline. See: See:

This pattern prevails around the world. News just in from Ireland, in the Irish Examiner:

Citizens in Bantry Bay are very angry with fish farms, as citizens are in many countries of the world.

"With one of the world’s biggest fish farm companies Marine Harvest planning to develop a new facility at Shot Head in Bantry Bay, Mr O’Donovan said: “This could result in a significant loss of jobs, given 30 fishermen also currently work Bantry Bay for crustaceans such as shrimp, prawns, lobster and crab. [ The issue is the chemicals they use, like cypermethrin, against the law in Canada with Cooke Aquaculture being done for using it illegally, killing lobsters and other crustaceans].

“The Shot Head salmon farm, in the meantime, would only create two full-time positions."
So lose 30 replace with 2. Hmm.
The article goes on:
“We fully back the researchers call for international quality standards to be drawn up. Irish environmental quality standards, differ from those in the UK. The standard set for teflubenzuron allows five times the residual quantity in our waters, and we have no standard at all for diflubenzuron.
“These were the two most problematic pesticides in this study and both are authorised for use in Irish salmon farms. But, to make matters worse, to date the Department of Agriculture has refused to release data on emissions of these pesticides in Irish salmon farms. ”
So the laws to do with chemicals is weak in Ireland, and they differ from the UK. How do fish farms then claim they operate under the strictest laws in the world? In the past year, they have said this in Scotland, Canada, Norway and Chile. Then as index articles note, they argue for weakening the laws to make business viable. 
Hmm. What about those 30 crab fishermen?
The article goes on: "The samples were tested by researchers for an environmental research organisation, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, on some of the commonly used fish farm pesticides — such as diflubenzuron, teflubenzuron, emamectin benzoate, cypermethrin, and delta-methrin.
As Norway has no environmental quality standards (EQS) system, the data was compared to the thresholds set in the UK. [emphasis added by DC Reid]
For teflubenzuron in sediment, the EQS was exceeded in 67% of the samples; and levels of diflubenzuron in water exceeded the EQS in 40% of samples collected."
Note that Norway has no chemical quality standards. That means it does not have the strongest laws in the world. And in Canada cypermethrin is against the law to use because it kills moutling animals, for example, lobsters. And we can add Ireland to the list of 'weak' lawed states.
In the Atlantic province of Canada though, Cooke Aquaculture was taken to court for using this chemical - which is against the law - for using it for lice for two years. They faced up to 99 years in jail and millions in fines. Cooke decided to take a closer look at the court documents, the situation went out of the public sphere, and months later, Cooke was given $25 million by the provincial government.
So, this is weak laws, 'alleged' illegal activities, putting fishermen out of work, and receiving money for doing so. Hmm.
The article goes on:
"Researchers also note that: “A crude assessment of the concentrations detected in the shrimp collected from one location and the levels at which chronic effects are seen in shrimp would suggest that there is a potential risk to shrimp. It would also be reasonable to extrapolate this to any species that undergoes moulting during its life cycle.”
Alec O’Donovan, secretary of Save Bantry Bay — an organisation opposed to a massive fish farm in the region — said the researchers’ warnings should be heeded.
“The value of shellfish landed in Bantry Bay was €646,590 in 2009, and the industry continues to support a number of local jobs,” said Mr O’Donovan.
“It is ludicrous to put this at risk by adding more salmon farms and greater pesticide emissions that have the potential to wipe out stocks.”"
Just like in BC where the fish farm industry threatens, and eliminates other jobs, it does the same in Ireland. And government supports fish farms. Oh and seven out of ten lice chemicals in Norway no longer work, they have so many lice and have used the chemicals so many times.
And the federal government in Canada through DFO, wants to bring in weaker laws that allow fish farms to put whatever chemicals in pristine BC waters that they want? Hmm.

Fish farms claim: "Fish farms operate under the strictest laws in the world." Answer: I don't think so.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Norway Polluted with Farmed Salmon - 2014

On the eve of DFO and the federal government enacting an aquaculture activities act here in BC which would allow the Norwegian fish farms m to dump anything in our pristine ocean, the country where the fish farms are from, Norway, 2014 has been a year of great environmental degradation. If the same companies operate here, they will pollute BC the same way. Read on.

Here is an article from earlier this year in Norway on the fish farm issues of Marine Harvest, Cermaq (now Mitsubishi), Grieg Seafood, et al:

A heralded disaster "Billions (NOK) rolls into salmon farming. Politicians clap excitedly.

It covers up a profound environmental crisis, writes John O. Egeland. Published 4 April 2014.

The aquaculture industry trembles with success. Last year Norway exported salmon worth 40 billion (NOK). The average price of fresh salmon increased by an incredible 44 percent. The owners are counting
the money and the government will have more of the same.

It will be more farms and more fish allowed in each cage. Behind the national parade, the industry is facing the worst. Where the list of issues is long and painful: Escapes and genetic pollution, diseases and parasites,
discharge of sewage and pollutants, large land use in the fjords, feed resources that are not sustainable and a
steadily increasing concentration of ownership.

If industry and government clean up, it's only a matter of time before this toxic cocktail has a devastating effect. Both on sea life, fjords, salmon rivers and the Norwegian economy. Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker (H) "rejoices with the seafood adventure," wrote the  papers that export figures for 2013 were
Yet lice has made more progress than exports. According  to the industry's own figures, it costs salmon farmers around two million (NOK) for every pound they produce. Today salmon are treated at least three times a year for lice, which is triple since 2007. What is worse, the delousing agents are becoming less effective and many of them pollute, often for long periods.

It is noted that there is resistance in seven out of ten products used against lice. Marketing Director for the feed company EWOS has  stated that "we are about to run out of remedies against lice."

The following diseases in farmed salmon are numerous and complex. Such bacterial and viral diseases can in many cases lead to the infection of wild fish. A study conducted by the Institute of Marine Research shows that escapees can carry viral diseases SAV and PRV to the spawning grounds in rivers. It is also shown that
diseases from aquaculture can be transferred between different populations and species.

The research has come a long way in these areas, which in itself poses a danger. The development still has a clear tendency:        

Farming operations seem  to be creating more aggressive and more harmful disease organisms than those normally found in nature. The diseases are therefore no internal problem for the industry, but a threat to the ecosytems entire biodiversity. Escapes help to spread diseases and lice, and to the genetic destruction of wild salmon.

In its latest report on the risks of farming, says IMR that the real numbers of escapees is several times higher than  those farmers report. Moreover a large part of the escaped fish are the very young fish (fry). Probably the number of escapes is higher than the estimate of 1.5 million fish. Surveys in various rivers show that cross breeding with salmon farming varies from slightly more than two percent  to nearly fifty  percent.

An increasing problem is the pollution and land use in the fjords. [Note that BC's coastline is almost all long fjords] The pollution has many sources: Sewage from fish, chemicals and toxins from debugging, waste feed and impregnation (copper). Just the sewage volume of feces is the same as from several million people. This naturally affects the environment,  particularly in fjords where the replacement of water is poor.

Increasingly, come  reports from local fishermen report that good fishing spots are destroyed, or that the fish they do catch have lousy quality. Many places [in Norway] now have growing local opposition to the salmon farms. Conservative mayor Laila Davidsen in Alta stated that  the disadvantages are so great that the municipality does not want new farming operations.

The lack of sustainability in the industry has not been solved, even though there are less fish used in the fish feed. The aquaculture industry uses twice as much fish as it produces, and therefore contributes to reducing world food production. As is the concentration of ownership concentrates. The political ambitions of several governments for local ownership and control have not been fulfilled.

The ten largest aquaculture operators own about 70 percent of the approximately one thousand salmon  licenses. [In BC the three big Norwegian companies own mor than 90% of the industry]  The list of threats is long, but the most dangerous are still the owners, authorities and politicians capitulation to each other. No one will stop the party and take action about tomorrow.

The  Salmon adventure has been an after party that is out of control."