Friday, 29 December 2017

Times Colonist Op Ed - John Volpe

Fish Farms Need to be On Land

I thought readers would like to know that this scientist who points out that fish farms should be on land to stop their environmental damage, has shown that farmed salmon occupy 36.6% of Vancouver Island streams/rivers snorkeled for data, and in rivers with greater numbers of wild salmonid species, it rises to a shocking 97%. (1)

So much for fish farms and DFO claiming escapes can’t happen. Volpe’s 2014 paper, also points out that industry chronically underreports escapes. In fact, in Norway, the non-reporting is so bad by companies like Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood – the companies in BC – that it now DNA tests Atlantic salmon and fines the non-reporting company. We should do this in BC.

Almost 50 years later, Marine Harvest still likes to use the communication’s spin that they bring fish to a hungry world and the Blue Revolution to humanity. Well, last week, farmed salmon sold in China for $64/Kg, and the reality is that the hungry can’t afford farmed fish, only first world mouths can. 

Not only this, The Sea Around Us (2) document points out that the top 20 forage fish stocks are either collapsing, poorly managed or both. Norway is singled out as destroying the Jack Mackerel off Chile, when in fact, the mackerel should be going to feed third world human mouths, not to feed a carnivore for wealthy mouths. One year the harvest was 100 million tonnes. Little wonder it crashed. 

I did a lot of research to figure out that an industry the size of BC’s kills 5.76 Billion forage fish (3) to bring in one harvest. In other words, fish farms don’t save fish, as they claim, they kill fish in huge numbers. 

And if you saw one of the videos this summer of a dozen fish farms that the Sea Shepherd and chief Quocksister et al stuck a GoPro in random nets, three things were repeated at each farm: deformed/damaged fish, sick behaviour and clouds of fecal matter.

My calculation, and it took a long time to do it, is that in BC, fish farm sewage can be conservatively estimated at $10.4 Billion that we taxpayers eat, er, absorb. (4) We don’t want to pay. The other end of conservative is triple this figure. 

There is lots of cheap land in BC, on Van Isle, unlike in the small, mountain country of Norway, where Marine Harvest is putting $100 million into closed containment, the ‘egg’ for example, and Cermaq is putting together the slightly shakier, ‘flexifarm’, to sequester some of the externalities of fish farming. So, John Horgan/Andrew Weaver, get talking to the Norwegian companies and tell them to bring some of their monetary policy inflated Kroners to BC where they will help them buy even more land, and more land equipment than setting up at home.

Or they can go home and set up on land in Norway. You see, though DFO can’t seem to see the problem, Norway is so fed up with fish farm environmental damage that it stopped auctioning off in-ocean licences in 2014, for Pete’s Sake. It is giving out free licences to set up on land, a $9 to $12-million subsidy based on the previous auction price. Now only concepts that truly separate farmed fish from the environment are being entertained.

In other words, if we give free licences to set up on land, it means BC is subsidizing an on-land industry for the same $9- to $12-million up front that their Norway home country is offering. Sounds good to me.

Oh, and on-land fish farms are much more common than Volpe mentions. My list has 201 different systems (5), comprising 20,000 actual on-land fish farms around the world. It isn’t just Kuterra in BC. On land is everywhere but where governments will allow the environment to be destroyed, like in BC. Come on John Horgan and Andrew Weaver, you can do this quite simply. Or our aboriginals are going to do it for you. The Tsilhquot’n decision is about their rights to territories and they’re going to court over the Broughton Archipelago.

3.     Fish farms kill billions of fish, calculation:
4.     Reference for calculating the $10.4B, taken from my site:
5.     201 On-land Fish Farm Systems: This post also contains dozens of reports on how on-land is cheaper.
Another useful reference, on dumping of lice peroxide into the water, like what Cermaq wants to do in Clayoquot Sound:
Jul 1, 2015 - Scandal. Google can translate this for you: " It's incredible. I was sure that wellboats had discharge permits [for dumping peroxide into the ocean], says Professor Are Nylund, head of the fish disease group at ...

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