Sunday, 28 August 2016

Watershed Watch: Cohen Commission - DFO, BC is Waiting for you to do Something. Are you there Dominic? Are you there Justin?

This document from Watershed Watch, a good BC environmental organization, has some good comments on the lack of implementation of the Cohen Commission report by DFO. Instead of composing text and taking snippets of it, I give it to you intact.


You can reach their site, as well as read this on their website, see: https://www.watershed-watch.org/resources/critique-of-federal-update-on-cohen-inquiry-recommendations/?utm_source=Watershed+Watch+Email+List&utm_campaign=28825f0733-Update_on_Minister_LeBlanc_Announcement-8_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_405944b1b5-28825f0733-166907249.

And, of course, you will have caught that Alexandra Morton went along with the aboriginals from Kingcome Inlet and dipped a GoPro on a stick into a salmon net, finding sick fish, stick-fish, as in a two foot fish that was 2 inches deep, herring inside the net, herring outside the net feeding on fish feed, dying fish, fish farm fish eating wild herring. This is as bad as it gets. See the video at the link below.

Fish farms like to claim they are transparent and have no lice, diseases, and, etc., but these claims sound pretty sad when on one farm, one camera put in one net found all these things. As, in, if you did the same at all of them, it's likely you would get the same result from the transparent, no lice, no disease fish farm industry - from every farm. You will recall that the results of retail purchased fish showed 95% PRV, as in HSMI disease.

Go see the Gopro video of the 'transaperent, lice free, disease free, fish farm industry:  https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.morton.1671/posts/1864901490405070. 
You will wonder how DFO can justify something this bad, that is so obviously diseased and needs to be out of the water. You will come away feeling that the Liberals have no environmental bone in their policies. 

Do go to Watershed Watch and enjoy their take on wild salmon and BC:

Resource: “Business as Usual”: a critique of federal update on Cohen

Filed In: , , . Posted by Ian Hinkle on

WHAT IS THE “COHEN INQUIRY”?

The Cohen Inquiry was the largest investigation of wild salmon management in Canadian history, spurred by the devastating Fraser sockeye collapse in 2009. It cost taxpayers over $37 million and produced 75 recommendations widely recognized as critical to restoring and protecting wild salmon for future generations. Justice Bruce Cohen’s recommendations cover habitat protection, salmon farming risks, hatchery management, fishery management, government accountability, and more. As you would expect from a Supreme Court judge, the recommendations are pragmatic and thoughtful.
The final report was tabled more than 3 years ago. We immediately started tracking government’s progress in implementing the recommendations with our Cohen Report Card. Progress has been slow, with most of the recommendations not implemented. That’s why so many of us were thrilled when Prime Minister Trudeau promised to implement the recommendations in his mandate letter to the Minister of Fisheries.  
In August 2016, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made his first trip to the west coast since taking the helm at DFO. He held a press conference in Vancouver to provide a progress report on his government’s commitment to acting on the recommendations of the Cohen Inquiry.

OUR TAKE ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT

We commend Minister LeBlanc for providing an update implementing the 2012 Cohen Commission recommendations; it was an important show of transparency. We also commend Minister LeBlanc and the federal government for explicitly making implementation a priority. But let’s not forget that the Cohen Commission was primarily investigating DFO’s track record of managing wild salmon, so we cannot  expect an independent assessment to come from the agency (DFO) that was under investigation.

Although the federal government has changed since the Cohen Commission, the bureaucracy which spurred the investigation is still comprised of many of the same people, doing things the same way. This may be why Justice Cohen penned the 75th and last recommendation, which calls for a government-independent public update on the implementation status. This important recommendation has not yet been fulfilled.

After examining DFO’s update, we think it paints an overly rosy and vague picture of implementation without much evidence or detail. In some cases we believe DFO has not followed the intent of Justice Cohen’s recommendations. And many of the “actions” were taken under the previous government, so there wasn’t much that was actually new.

Here, we provide a few examples of the good and the bad on DFO’s update.

The Good

  • DFO is publicly taking the initiative to talk about the Cohen Commission. recommendations, something lacking in recent years.
  • Recognition that Cohen recommendations apply to BC salmon broadly, not just Fraser River sockeye.

The Bad

  • A biased update of many activities that are “dressed-up” as action taken on the Cohen recommendations.
  • Unnecessary and poorly justified delays on habitat-related recommendations.
  • DFO suggests it is devising a plan to implement the Wild Salmon Policy. However, the Wild Salmon Policy is a detailed implementation plan to restore and conserve BC’s salmon! There is no justifiable need for DFO to write a new implementation plan for the widely supported policy. If DFO is allowed to rewrite the Wild Salmon Policy we have no doubt that they will water it down, reducing it to another “guidelines” document without teeth and rigour.  

WILD SALMON POLICY

  • Justice Cohen recognized the value of the Wild Salmon Policy in providing specific guidance on how to restore and conserve BC’s salmon. He also understood that the Policy allowed First Nations, stakeholders, and the public to measure DFO’s performance in conserving wild salmon. He didn’t critique the Wild Salmon Policy or recommend it be re-written. Instead, he directed 8 of the first 10 recommendations towards implementing it, and ended his report by stating DFO’s performance on implementing the Policy should be reviewed by an independent body and reported publicly. This is absolutely crucial.

Examples:

  • #4 DFO has not hired an Associate Regional Director to champion the Policy’s implementation. We see no evidence of “a strengthened governance and oversight regime at the senior management level.” This is an important recommendation intended to make DFO accountable for implementing the Policy.
  • #5 No implementation plan for the Wild Salmon Policy has been published and DFO says “the Policy will be implemented through existing DFO programs.” Unfortunately, we’re concerned this means business as usual. Worse, they are using this recommendation as a Trojan Horse to re-write the implementation plan that is embedded in the Wild Salmon Policy and undoubtedly water it down. The only intelligible reason given for changing the Policy is to “align it with changed legislation”, by which they mean the changes made to the Fisheries Act by the Harper government when they gutted the Act’s habitat protection provisions. This government has promised to “restore lost protections” to the Act. Therefore, changing the Wild Salmon Policy to align with the gutted Fisheries Act is preposterous.
  • #6 No details are provided on properly funding the Wild Salmon Policy. DFO provides no concrete evidence the Policy will be a priority.  

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

  • #3 deals with the concern that DFO’s salmon farming promotional mandate is impeding its ability to protect wild salmon, in part because the industry may be a threat to wild stocks. However, Minister Leblanc publicly dismissed this concern. The Cohen Commission wasn’t the only high-profile body to highlight this conflict of interest within DFO. In 2012, the Royal Society of Canada commissioned a report (Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity) which identified a similar concern. Given this recommendation has not been implemented, we question the integrity of DFO’s updates on all recommendations related to salmon farming.

 

SALMON FARMS: A RISK TO WILD SALMON

  • Justice Cohen highlighted salmon farms as a risk to wild salmon and articulated 10 recommendations dealing with farm management and 1 dealing with DFO’s problematic promotion of the industry.
  • Unfortunately, many of DFO’s responses on salmon farming are questionable.

Examples:

  • #15, 16 & 17 deal with the development of siting criteria for salmon farms (i.e., where farms should be located), so they explicitly integrate wild salmon migration routes, new science through a scientific peer-review process, and the involvement of stakeholders and First Nations. After these siting criteria are developed, Cohen states that existing farms that don’t comply with these criteria should be removed.
  • Watershed Watch and other NGOs were provided with DFO’s attempt at a draft siting criteria document last yearit was seriously flawed and lacking a scientific basis, without reference to a single scientific study. DFO referred to these criteria as “guidelines” which implies they are not mandatory or enforceable. To date, not one farm has been removed due to these new criteria, yet DFO considers these three recommendations “complete.”
  • See our letter to DFO regarding their proposed siting guidelines.

SCIENCE & STOCK ASSESSMENT

  • Several recommendations deal with obtaining accurate assessments and data on salmon stock size. This is critical monitoring information needed to properly assess and manage the health and status of Fraser sockeye stocks. Although DFO communicates that $197 million will be spent over five years to increase ocean and freshwater science, including monitoring and research on Pacific salmon, surprisingly, many recommendations that involve monitoring are marked as not implemented with no assurance they will be. Is this an indication of DFO’s true commitment to wild salmon?  

Examples:  

  • #28 deals with contributing to the Pacific Salmon Commission’s test-fishing program so it is capable of operating at 2010 levels. This allows a robust assessment of incoming stock size. Despite pronouncements of funding for monitoring, DFO provides no certainty that funding will facilitate this key recommendation.
  • #29 deals with maintaining hydroacoustic monitoring along the river at Mission and Qualark so they operate at 2010 levels. Again, DFO provides no commitment that this will be implemented.  
  • #32 & 33 deal with funding robust monitoring of juvenile sockeye salmon, which is key information in assessing the early lifecycle stages of salmon. Again, DFO admits they are not implementing these key recommendations. This raises the question about where all the monitoring money they quoted is going?

HABITAT & THE FISHERIES ACT

Justice Cohen reinforced the need for conserving existing habitat and restoring damaged habitat, and he emphasized that habitat is key to salmon recovery. While this government has promised it will restore lost protections to the Fisheries Act, it has yet to do so.

Examples:  

  • #41 & 42 deal with the implementation of the the 1986 Habitat Policy, establishing a detailed plan to increase productive capacity of Fraser River sockeye habitat.
  • DFO’s update calls these recommendations “Out of Date” but these recommendations are still relevant to protect habitat needed for salmon recovery.
CONCLUSION
 

Minister LeBlanc’s announcement was a small step in the right direction, but it is clear that he will need to take a firm hand with DFO if he expects them to deliver on the Cohen recommendations. Consultation, obfuscation, delays, and watering down the Wild Salmon Policy—while merely reporting on the partial implementation of recommendations made by a previous government—are not going to cut it.

There, you have it, DFO's, Dominic LeBlanc's, Justin Trudeaus lack of action is just not going to cut it.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Post 2: Forage Fish - Fish Farm Feed Stats

See the previous post for this fish feed series: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/08/forage-fish-fish-farm-feed-stats.html.

This post is about trying to quantify just how responsible fish farms are for fishing down feed fish that should go to feeding third world humans rather than food for fish sold to first world mouths. Examples, are the Jack Mackerel decline off Chile, and now, the decline of anchovy off Peru, a story that is current in 2016. Look at my post on Fish Farm Bad News Bites: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/05/fish-farm-news-bites-2016-almost-too_3.html. I found 600 bad news stories in the global press from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016. Hard to believe.

Here is the graph of decline of Jack Mackerel, at its peak some 100M MT caught per year off Chile: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/08/jack-mackerel-fish-farms-buffalo.html.

Since the Bad News Bites 2015 to 2016 post, my 2016 post includes more than 100 negative global news stories about the fish farm/seafood industry, in one month, no less: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/07/news-bites-farmed-salmonseafood.html.

Now, in this, I consider the results of the Sea Around Us study: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Around_Us_(organization).

Their work will allow me to quantify just what the Norwegian-style fish farms, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood are responsible for killing ocean forage fish to feed to fish farm fish. This is the issue of sustainability. I aim to quantify how much blame they deserve.

Here is some lead in text: 


"In 2016, members of Sea Around Us, using reconstructed global catch data that combine officially reported landings data with comprehensive estimates of unreported landings and discards, documented that, from 1950-2010, global catches were around 50% higher than reported data suggest. Furthermore, total catches seem to be declining faster from their peak catch in the mid-1990s than reported data would suggest. The good news is that the discrepancy between reported data and estimated total catches is decreasing in more recent years, meaning that the comprehensiveness of data reported by countries seems to be improving.
Sea Around Us also communicates to broad audiences to convey the urgency to:
  • Reduce excess fishing capacity (much of which is being ‘exported’ to developing countries).
  • Eliminate damaging subsidies and create extensive networks of marine protected areas.
  • Reconsider the current model of carnivorous aquaculture.
  • Refocus fisheries to the small-scale sectors that are crucial to national food security concerns in developing countries."
I will be reading science for the next while to give you some hard stats on the issue.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

KEY DOCUMENT: Fish Farm Diseases in BC, Updated Sept 6, 2016

This key document will list all the diseases in BC farmed fish that come my way. It will, like the 155 on-land fish farm document of mine, be a one-stop post for all I find on this issue.

A mid-coast BC fish farm fish displaying the symptoms of HSMI. Do you want this in our water, an infected farm releasing 56 billion viral particles per hour? I think not.



The on-land fish farm post remains the most viewed of all my nearing 300 posts on this blog. Here is the most recent iteration of the list: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/05/152-different-on-land-fish-farm-systems.html.

You will note that the AKVA group has had an 'explosion' of on land sales in Q2, 2016: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/08/akva-on-land-fish-farm-sales-exploding.html.

Like the two tipping point articles I wrote on the on-land issue in Norway and BC, I think the disease post will come to serve that function well. Disease is a constant in fish farms, around the world, from animals too close to one another and thus spreading disease, some 56 billion viral particles per hour. The Kibenge Powerpoint presentation notes that fish farm disease losses come to be one third to one half of all fish farm fish.

I should have started a disease post long ago, as it, like the bad news bites posts, will become equally as long, and equally damning on the global fish farm industry, that needs to raise a vegetarian fish and do it on land. The Bad News Bites post is here - you might be shocked:  http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/07/news-bites-farmed-salmonseafood.html.

You will recall that BC fish farms have had kudoa - MH has had great losses - furunculosis for Grieg Seafood's 'craft' Skuna Bay fish, and Cermaq having an algal bloom in Clayoquot. Then there are the past infections of IHN and IPN. And, you will recall during the Cohen Commission the several different labs that showed ISA in BC, including Are Nyland in Norway, the OIE lab for the eastern hemisphere.

And you will recall from the Cohen Commission, Dr. Kristi Miller's work on the 'viral-signature' wherein she listed the phenotypical disease problems in salmon and what they suggested were the diseases that caused them. This is a novel way of getting at the disease from the problems it causes, rather than the identification of the genetic material of a virus.

Here is the list of diseases, and the issue is that BC is the first place fish farms have come with a huge wild salmon population:

7. Images of diseased fish at  Marine Harvest, Mowi Brood Group, and McConnell Brood Group, Sept 21: https://www.facebook.com/alexandramorton.wildsalmon/photos/a.676225769212649.1073741845.201971229971441/676225785879314/?type=3&theater.

6. HSMI, Furunculosis, Disease, wild herring video, Aug 26, 2016: One GoPro, one stick, one pond on one fish farm, selected randomly. You will come away thinking the odds of such a thing are so small, on a random pick, that all fish farms are this bad:  https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.morton.1671/posts/1864901490405070.

5. The HSMI collection fish, 2013 - 2014, not only had HSMI, but the site had an algal bloom, perhaps caused by fish farm sewage, then there was a lice infection, then Slice treatment. See the Powerpoint presentation, page 6: https://www.psf.ca/blog/discovery-hsmi-bc-salmon-farm.

4. Furunculosis in BC, Grieg Seafood, Skuna Bay:  http://www.livingoceans.org/fr/media/releases/virulent-fish-disease-strikes-nootka-sound-fish-farms?language=fr.

3. PRV in BC, a cause of HSMI: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/disease-found-in-salmon-on-one-fish-farm-in-bc-but-more-research-needed-study/article30109962/.

2. HSMI in BC, Miller, PSF: https://www.psf.ca/blog/discovery-hsmi-bc-salmon-farm.

1. ISA in BC, the 'worst' fish farm disease - Jan 6, Virology Journal: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2016/06/cfia-testing-for-isav-in-british-columbia-acceptable.html.


Jack Mackerel - Fish Farm's Buffalo - Unsustainable Industry, Updated Oct 18, 2016

Jack Mackerel in Chile, South America, once existed in vast quantities, just like the buffalo did in North America. The buffalo are all gone. Now, most of the Jacks are gone, too. They formed a substantial part of the global fish meal feed for fish farms. Now the anchovy in Peru is in the same decline.

Here is a graph of the Chilean catch, and how it has declined over the years, showing that the industry is not sustainable, despite what fish farm companies may claim:


This is part of the reason that the fish farm industry has moved to wanting plant-based feed for its salmon. The downward curve is indicative of other fish-based protein sources and oils. And the industry is now fishing down the krill in the Antarctic, even below fish in the food chain, but perhaps the most important feed in that ocean, particularly for mammals, baleen whales for example.

Some more background:


"In Chile, a small number of wealthy families own 87% of the jack mackerel harvest. With government agreement, they have been allocated quotas which scientists say are not sustainable.[13] In 2012, a heated dispute developed between Peru and Chile over the fishing of the mackerel.[3][14] Attempts have been made since 2006 to empower the South Pacific Regional Management Organisation so it can effectively regulate the jack mackerel industry on the high seas and across national boundaries. Geopolitical rivalries and lack of international cooperation is preventing this.[4] In an interview with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the French marine biologist Daniel Pauly compared jack mackerels to American bison, whose populations also collapsed in the 19th century from over hunting: "This is the last of the buffaloes. When they’re gone, everything will be gone ... This is the closing of the frontier."[4]

Chilean jack mackerels are canned or marketed fresh for human consumption;[2] they are a staple food in Africa. They are also processed into fishmeal, which is fed to swine and salmon; five kilograms of jack mackerel are needed to raise one kilogram of farmed salmon.[4]"

The answer is to raise vegetarian fish, like tilapia, and to raise them on land. 


                                                  ******************

This is a good news article on fishing down Jack mackerel off Chile by the world fleet that is, if you can believe it, subsidized by their home nation, typically fuel costs: 

"In the southern Pacific, industrial fleets find fewer and fewer jack mackerel after years of aggressive fishing: European Union-flagged vessels collectively caught more than 111,000 metric tons of jack mackerel in 2009; the next year, the ships hauled in 40 percent fewer fish; by last year, vessels reported just 2,261 tons."

The source of this quote is:  https://www.publicintegrity.org/node/7900/.

AKVA - On-land Fish Farm Sales 'Exploding' Trond Williksen, CEO

AKVA, Norway, sells on-land fish farm components. It's Q2 results are the best ever and it says on-land sales are exploding. This means the rest of the world is putting nails in the coffin of fish farms that remain in the water, such as Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood.

See its Q2 results: http://www.akvagroup.com/news/akva-group-asa-2q-2016-financial-reporting-.

Here is the beginning of their text: 'AKVA group is on track and has completed the second quarter with good overall performance. Revenue in second quarter 2016 ended on 408 MNOK (402 MNOK) with an EBITDA of 43 MNOK (41 MNOK). Second quarter EBITDA margin was 10.4% (10.2%). With the exception of Americas, all business segments and regions are performing well in the second quarter. AKVA group is ending the quarter with the highest order backlog ever of 822 MNOK.

"AKVA group continues to be on track and has completed the best second quarter and first half ever with regards of revenue, EBITDA and order backlog. The resent year's transformation of AKVA group to become a better performing and more diversified Group is reflected in the Q2 results. Operationally and financially AKVA group is well positioned for further growth. The half yearly dividend of 0.75 NOK per share to be paid out in Q3 underlines our solid financial position", says CEO of AKVA group ASA Trond Williksen.'"

From the financials about its global operations, it is clear that on-land is doing the best. This is further proof that the rest of the world, not tied to Norwegian-style fish farms in the ocean, is moving ahead with on-land production close to markets.

Here is their specific note: 'Land Based Technology (LBT). LBT have had a significant improved performance year on year in Q2. Both Plastsveis AS and Aquatec Solutions A/S had a good first half of 2016. AKVA group Denmark A/S had another decent quarter, but there is still potential for further improvements financially. The land based segment ended the quarter with a record high order backlog and has after Q2 2016 53% of the total order backlog in the Group. Land based increased its revenues year on year with 74% and was 23% of total revenues in Q2 2016, hence land based is becoming a significant part of AKVA group. '

Do note that AKVA also sells in-ocean components, and is developing sub-sea farms, something that oceans and humanity do not want to see.

In their outlook, they note that the Canadian market has been off and will be moderate going forward, meaning, we need to start buying on-land. The public in Canada is against in-ocean fish farms and wants them on land.

In a nutshell, AKVA is a technology and service partner to the aquaculture industry worldwide. The company has around 750 employees, offices in 8 countries and a total turnover of NOK 1.4 billion in 2015.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Finally: First Nations Tell Norwegian Fish Farms to Get out of their Territory - Broughton Archipelago, Updated April 13, 2017









Go look at the video. Cermaq, Marine Harvest, Grieg Seafood, Norwegians have been told to get out of the water. Thank God, some people have sense, and the clout to get DFO in line. Since Burnt Church, DFO has been afraid of aboriginals.

Here is the video link: https://www.facebook.com/fishfarmsgetout/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf.

BC First Nation chiefs, Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw, will no longer allow the 'ecological trainwreck' fish farms in their territory.

This is the most significant step forward in the long process of BC rebuilding our wild Pacific salmon.

Please note that the 'ecological trainwreck'  quote is not mine, but from the most significant conference on fish farm environmental damage in Norway of Canadians, Europeans and so on. The link for that is at this address, and is worth reading: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/07/norwegians-canadians-reject-in-ocean.html.

The people of BC stand behind First Nations in their decision and resolve. Please consider giving them a donation for their expenses: http://cleansingourwaters.com/take-action/.

Here is a link to the study showing that salmon have declined 50% since fish farms set up shop . This is around the world:  http://www.fmap.ca/ramweb/papers-total/Ford_Myers_2008.pdf.

Here is a video of the RCMP talking with the First Nations involved in the eviction, Aug 18, regarding their further actions:  https://www.facebook.com/fishfarmsgetout/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf.

And Aug 18, the Musgamagw, cleansed a fish farm, and stated this: 'We, the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw view the destruction of wild fish by the fish farming industry as part of the long history of genocide forced on our people by the governments of Canada. Salmon are essential to our well-being and the well-being of our world.'

In other words, fish farms are in the same class as the residential schools where generations of aboriginals were neutralized from their culture.

See: https://www.facebook.com/fishfarmsgetout/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

Look at the fish farm fish in this video: https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.morton.1671/posts/1864901490405070. As of Sept 10, 2016 it has been viewed 750,000 times.

Update, Mar, 2017. Take a look at this article on the eviction issue from the Tyee: https://thetyee.ca/News/2016/08/31/First-Nations-Fish-Farm-Eviction-Rallies/.

Updated, April 13, 2017:

1. Here is a link to the CBC on the eviction: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fish-farm-protests-1.3737728.
2. Here is a link to the Tsilhqot'in Decision on aboriginal right to their own territory. This is the most important of all the decisions, including Sparrow, Delgamukw and so on: In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Tsilhqot'in First Nation — and in turn all other First Nations in Canada — can have aboriginal title to lands outside of native reserves.



Salmon Diversity Important to First Nation Food Supply - WCEL, Watershed Watch

A recent study from BC  shows that diversity of stock sub-components, in other words, genetic gene pools in BC rivers are important to longterm food supply for First Nations:

'A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific salmon fisheries underpin Indigenous food security” published by SFU researchers Holly Nesbitt and Dr. Jonathan Moore, is a fantastic example. It’s good timing for the publication of this new science, too, as the findings will be valuable for the newly started review of the Fisheries Act.'

This is a link to the study summary: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12717/full.

The point in the study is that runs of salmon are composed of stocks within the run and it is the genetic diversity of the many stocks that is important to conserving salmon.

West Coast Environmental Law has done an analysis of the laws governing fish and habitat, that were systematically weakened by the Harper government. For a good read of their work, see:  http://www.wcel.org/resources/environmental-law-alert/catching-science-salmon-biodiversity-and-aboriginal-fisheries-righ?utm_source=LEB.

Here is a key paragraph: 'As WCEL has been warning since 2012, amendments made to the Fisheries Act significantly weakened habitat protection provisions under the Act. As the current federal government works to restore and strengthen habitat protection, potential amendments to the Act could include a focus on protecting habitat for sub-species that may not be currently given high priority, but that are vital for ensuring healthy runs. See our brief Scaling Up the Fisheries Act for other ideas for amendments.'

In other words, habitat protection and restoration are key to maintaining salmon. The other major influences on salmon are: DFO itself, fish farms and climate change.

The WCEL brief has this to say:  'DFO’s Wild Salmon Policy (formally known as “Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon”) has as its first objective to “[s]afeguard the genetic diversity of wild Pacific salmon.” In addition, the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Canada is a signatory, has “the conservation of biological diversity” as its core objective. We need to take these legal commitments seriously to stem the alarming loss of biodiversity.'

Maintaining biological diversity is a reason for getting fish farms out of BC water because they indiscriminately affect all runs.

Here is an analysis by Watershed Watch. It is worth reading: https://www.watershed-watch.org/resources/critique-of-federal-update-on-cohen-inquiry-recommendations/?utm_source=Watershed+Watch+Email+List&utm_campaign=28825f0733-Update_on_Minister_LeBlanc_Announcement-8_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_405944b1b5-28825f0733-166907249.




Saturday, 13 August 2016

Times Colonist - New research will help salmon - Updated Aug 23, 2016

A few comments on the TC's Aug 13's editorial of the above title: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-new-research-will-help-salmon-1.2322130.

Please note I freelanced for the TC for a decade, and my comments here are about the text, not a criticism of the paper. The point is that a false impression can be attached to an article that lacks deep knowledge of the subject.

1. The Harper government opened the Cohen Commission to get the subject out of an election year, not because of any great interest in falling salmon numbers.

2. New money for science is a good thing, but only if it gets used for a good purpose. Until I see what it actually gets used for, I restrain my enthusiasm. Not to mention what of the environmental law gutting that Harper did, that is actually returned to what it should be. The early word is that DFO senior staff in Ottawa, don't want to.

3. Leblanc says 32 of 75 Cohen recommendations have been implemented. In my last post, I pointed to my Environmental Petition to the federal Auditor General, that came back as generic mush, not disaggregated budget amounts and FTEs, in other words, until we get those things, there is no reason to believe LeBlanc's words. After all, Min Shea gave me the opposite: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/08/time-colonist-story-amy-smart-wild.html. 

4. Research to create a sustainable aquaculture industry. This is an oxymoron. There is nothing sustainable about an industry that uses the ocean as a free, open sewer (or if you prefer economics-speak, their sewage is an externality), decimates the world's stocks of wild forage fish for feed. And for sustainability, industry has to be on land, and use vegetable sources for feed, but not ones that result in rainforest being cut down, natives being thrown off their land, and GMO soy or other crop.

And we need to raise a vegetarian, like tiliapia, not an exotic carnivore, that requires fishmeal.

In fact, Canadians and Norwegians think that fish farms are 'an ecological train wreck' - their words, not mine: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/07/norwegians-canadians-reject-in-ocean.html.

6. Science will answer the contentious questions surrounding fish farms. Well, no, fish farms around the world are always asking for more science. That is because they get five more years in saltwater before calling once again for more science. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of science on the environmental damage caused by fish farms. Google: fish farm environmental damage and you will be reading for days.

Helge Aarskogg, CEO in a related issue, pointed out that lice were Marine Harvest's biggest problem. In fact they have 90 studies on-going at present. What this does is create conflict of interest in science, and increasingly journals require divestiture of sponsorship.

A BC example, is that MH did private work to find no lice problem in Quatsino Sound last year. I published a list of more than 30 scientific studies that showed lice are a problem in BC, as well as DFO's own problem numbers in Quatsino: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/02/lice-numbers-dont-match-up-in-bc-and.html.

7. Yes, Fraser sockeye numbers are bad in 2016. But don't forget that the research in the Cohen Commission showed 100% of Cultus Lake sockeye had ISA, the globe's worst disease. DFO has done nothing about this so far.

8 Last year only 1.4 million salmon returned to BC Rivers. The error here is using the Fraser's number as the entire province. Wrong. For example, the Stamp number of sockeye for last year was 1.8 million.

9. Cohen said we need more work on fish farms. Really? What he said was that in absence of scientific evidence to the contrary, that Quadra area farms should be removed. His most important recommendation was to take the conflict of interest of DFO out of DFO and for them to get on with the Wild Salmon Policy, etc. The TC makes this point.

10. The BC Salmon Farmers Ass says fish farms employ 5,000 people and produce $1.1 Billion in BC. This is miles wrong.The best stats, the BC Stats report said it is only 1,700 jobs, with only $469 M in revenue, with only $61.9 Million in GDP - less than 10% of the other sectors, commercial, processing and sport.

As for the 5,000 figure, they usually use the 6,000 number, but the best stats (look at the index of this site to find the table), are 1700, or 34% of the Ass claim. Furthermore, I went out and found the actual figure of employment and found it is only 820 actual jobs - references in my files. In other words, actual employment is only 16.5% of what the Ass claims.

11. Fish farms say science and certification are on their side. Well, no, go Google the science and it demonstrates lots of problems around the globe. For example, the March algal bloom in Chile, in part the result of fish farm sewage, killed 25 Million fish and resulted in more than 10,000 jobs being lost. And you will recall the algal bloom in 2016 in Clayoquot, and Grieg Seafood's furunculosis fish deaths in Nootka in 2016.

If you want to see how fish farms actually operate, I think you will be some stunned to read my News Bites post of the bad news in the fish farm/seafood industry. Marine Harvest for instance, had the CEO of the company that owns MH, sentenced to a jail term for corruption, of hundreds of millions of bribes in Uzbekistan. There is far more: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/07/news-bites-farmed-salmonseafood.html. Just scan the boldfacing for a minute.

I should add that you can find the links to the science on this site that says BC's salmon have declined in numbers by 50% since fish farms set up shop. And the global figure for smolt lost is 34%. Check out the indexes: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/01/key-document-index-2015.html.

As for the certifications, most do not stand up to scrutiny. The BAPs are industry funded. The ASCs include in-ocean fish farms and thus are not reputable. The MSCs are usually out of reach, but
Seafood News did an editorial on the cartel nature and manipulation problems with the MSCs. The only system that is good is the Monterrey Bay one and it lists in-ocean fish farms as unsustainable.

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I agree with much of the ending of the editorial, and suggest that you go read it. But I have no belief in science helping things, as manipulated as it is around the world. Why even DFO had a defection scientist, Michael Kent, who disavowed his research on the Cohen stand - along with three other scientists - something very disappointing to those of us who follow the debate closely. You can find his words in the Cohen transcript.

Shouldn't DFO be getting back all the taxpayer dollars they paid Kent? And, what does that do to all the papers on the subject of salmon leukemia virus, a term that he created? Doesn't that render all those papers false? Just so you know, a few years ago, I read all 125 abstracts of his articles. What parts of the list should be taken off the public record? And by whom?

The abstract list showed he worked with fish farm friendly scientists, for example, Saksida.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Forage Fish - Fish Farm Feed Stats

For basic stats, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forage_fish#Use_as_animal_feed.

A quote from Wikipedia:

"Use as animal feed

Eighty percent of the forage fish caught are fed to animals, in large part due to the high content of beneficial long chain omega-3 fatty acids in their flesh. Ninety percent is processed into fishmeal and fish oil. Of this, 46 percent was fed to farmed fish, 24 percent to pigs, and 22 percent to poultry (2002).[4][22][23] Six times the weight of forage fish is fed to pigs and poultry alone than the entire seafood consumption of the U.S. market. One of the most promising alternatives to fish oil as a source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids and certain amino acids is algal oil from microalgae, the original source of these fatty acids in forage fish.[24]
According to Turchini and De Silva (2008), another 2.5 million tonnes of the annual forage fish catch is consumed by the global cat food industry. In Australia, pet cats eat 13.7 kilograms of fish a year compared to the 11 kilograms eaten by the average Australian. The pet food industry is increasingly marketing premium and super-premium products, when different raw materials, such as the by-products of the fish filleting industry, could be used instead.[25]"

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These stats give some basic dimensions of the forage fish fishery and their use, and would need a closer look at the studies quoted, but you can use these to do a number of interesting things for farmed fish/humans:

1. Feed conversion rate. Fish farms like to crow it is getting close to 1 to 1, ignoring, that live wet fish are about 4 to 5 kg to make 1 kg of fish meal.

2. If half is fed to farmed fish, rather than humans, that is a real waste.

3. The real issue is that omega fats can be raised from algae, an alternative, and make the fish farm/sustainability issue start to approach something that can use the two words in the same sentence without it being an oxymoron.

4. You can compute the actual weight in millions of tonnes of the forage fish used for fish meal.

5. You can compute the actual number of forage fish fed to a farmed salmon during its lifetime, making it concrete. I would be surprised it was less than 100 dead forage fish per kg. So 100 deaths for one first world human meal, well, 101, because we would have to kill the farmed fish to eat it in the first world.

6. The Scotland science on the stomach biota show it can be manipulated to allow carnivores to tolerate more vegetable source fats.

7. 80% of killed forage fish are fed to animals rather than humans who need the food. You can calculate the actual tonnage 'taken' from humans.

8. And so on, limited only by your imagination.

Time Colonist Story - Amy Smart, "Wild salmon still top priority, but fish farms stay: mnister'


I was going to walk you through the Aug 10, 2016 article in the Times Colonist newspaper, that I free-lanced for for a decade, pointing out the differences between reporting a story and analyzing a story. Reporting is about relating what others, on all sides of a controversy, have to say, along with some of their back up material.

This is fair, but tends to give the public a false story, that purports to be the true story. The title is: Wild salmon still top priority, but fish farms stay: minister.

Most informed commentators on DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) would roll their eyeballs at the first part of the title: Wild salmon still top priority, because they know that the four major problems with wild BC salmon are: habitat restoration, DFO, fish farms and climate change.

So to start off with the minister, Dominic LeBlanc, saying the priority is wild salmon, when the habitat restoration budget is pretty much limited to the Salmon Stamp licence revenue, of, as I recall, $7.2 Million given to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, that leverages the money with BC volunteers up to seven times, is that the first assertion of the title is false. Any informed commentator will tell you that the restoration budget needed in total is probably $500 million. To give only one example, there are 70,000 culverts that need replacing in BC, that at the rate they are being changed will take more than 3000 years.

And last year, $200,000 was given to Van Isle projects, when the Clay Bank restoration on the Cowichan alone had been done in earlier years, at a cost of $1.5 Million when it was done, gives an idea of the vast distance between the 'priority' and the reality on the ground, er, river.

My suggestion is that DFO plus the Province should both give the same amount to the PSF and then, at over $21 million per year, leveraged 7 times starts to get to approaching the kind of money required to legitimately address the most pressing problem facing wild salmon - habitat restoration. DFO just simply does not have wild BC salmon as it's priority.

You can find all the references for all the figures I quote, or generate, by looking at one of the two indexes on this site. Here is one: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/01/key-document-index-2015.html. And look at the graphic that leads this 2016 index, showing that farmed salmon have 10 times the toxic PCB, POPs, cancer-causing and so on, chemicals of other 'farmed' animals. I would not eat one.

The second part of the title is: but fish farms stay, does not capture the real issue. That is, the only fish farm that should be in BC and around the world is an on-land one, that keeps all the problems caused by in-ocean fish farms out of the ocean. Fish farms say it can't be done (even though Marine Harvest is now doing this in Norway).

So, over the years, I have slowly put together a list of on-land farms I have found around the world. The list is now 152 on-land systems, comprising 20,000 actual on land farms: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2016/05/152-different-on-land-fish-farm-systems.html. Just go look. This is the most popular post on my site, most recently in Russia, who must be looking seriously at all on-land.

So the issue is: if fish farms are put on land, then they can stay, but it is deceptive to put in a title that glosses over the most important issue in the debate by not mentioning it. Now, I could go through the entire article and pick it apart, so that a reader gets a much better representation of the real issues and where they stand, but I will limit myself to only one, or this article would be intolerably long.

According to the article,LeBlanc says that 32 of 75 Cohen recommendations have been completed. I'm afraid not. The Auditor General's office got in touch with me to launch an environmental Petition under its mandate, and I did so in late 2013.

Most specifically, I asked then minister Gail Shea, what the specific disaggregated budget and actual FTEs used for each and every recommendation in the Cohen tome of 1200 pages. Disaggregated budget means the amount of dollars for a specific purpose, with each standard object (government speak for specific purpose). And FTEs means full time equivalents, or actual people.

I did not receive an answer to my question, instead, I received generic mush, with generic figures attached. This is something very different from what I asked. In other words, DFO refused to answer the question, and so chose to do it the way they wanted to answer it. I know this as I used to generate generic mush for the provincial government when I worked for the Ministry of Finance.


This is the link to my Petition on the Auditor General of Canada's site: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/pet_353_e_39110.html.

This is the Question I asked then minister of DFO, Gail Shea, about Cohen. You will see how specific it is, then look at her response in the AG Petition site. Mush:


Petition questions and/or requests:

Dear DFO Minister Gail Shea:
  1. It is one year since the $26.4 Million Cohen Commission on Decline of Fraser River Sockeye delivered its report to DFO. One year later, I would like to know: What concrete results, and detail them individually, with associated timelines and funding that DFO has committed or expensed to resolve each of the 75 environmental recommendations in the three volume Cohen Report on the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye: http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/FinalReport/. The recommendations are pages 105 – 115, of Volume 3. I am speaking of the boldfaced recommendations and the concrete results DFO has taken to achieve each of the 75 recommendations that can also be found in a Cohen PDF of Chapter 2, Volume Three.
Thank you
DC (Dennis) Reid
Victoria, BC 



(Please note that I am not criticizing Amy Smart. She is doing her job as a reporter).