Friday, 23 February 2018

BC Salmon Farmers Association - Even More 'Spin'?, Check out the Escapes, Updated Mar 4, 2018

Jeremy Dunn (who has moved on) speaking for the BC Salmon Farmers Association, said in iPolitics and the Times Colonist this week, commenting on how BC's fish farms are so much better than the Cooke farms in WA:

" ...let’s not forget that salmon farming in B.C. is worth more than a billion and a half dollars to our economy. It’s a well-managed business that supports 6,600 jobs and has done so for many years and has a great future here supported by world-leading science.”


Well, let's just go through this, Slim, cause those figures look mighty high to me:

* Salmon farms worth more than $1.5B? Sorry fish farms, but the BC Stats Report says it is only $469 Million and that is for all of aquaculture. Fish farms are 90%, or $422M, so, the fish farm estimate is 355.5% higher than the BC government's own figures. Sorry.

* Salmon farms support 6,600 jobs? Sorry, fish farms, but the BC Stats Report says it is only 1,700 multiplier jobs and that is for all of aquaculture. Fish farms are 90% or 1530, so, the fish farm estimate is 390% higher than the BC government. Sorry.

*Actual employment is 820 jobs or 12% of what fish farms say. So when fish farms give you an estimate of jobs, divide it by 10 to get to a much closer number.

And you might be very surprised to find that BC fish farms are tiny, despite what Slim suggests.

*The GDP of the entire aquaculture industry is a measly $61.9M, the BC Stats Report says. And fish farms are only 90% of this tiny figure or $55.7M. The rest of the sector - sport, commercial, processing - is $612M. That means the rest of the salmon sector is 1100% higher GDP effect than fish farms, so says the BC government. Sorry.

So, the take away here is don't believe what fish farms tell you. It's all spin, which is a polite word for 'balderdash' which is polite for BS. 


And since the problem with Cooke is escapes in WA, what about escapes in BC? Well, here are some BC numbers:

1.5 million escape, 1987 to 2008, says the BC Min of Agriculture and Lands: Yes, that's 1.5 milion

40,000 escape: (2009)

30,000 in 2011... and Chile lost 12 Million in 2007 to an earthquake. Hmm, isn't BC in a hot earthquake zone? Shouldn't fish farms be on land?

And, by golly, there is more. Look at this: It notes escapes in Scotland, Atlantic Canada, BC, Norway, US and Chile, only some of the countries with farmed salmon, and found, get this, more than 25 Million escapes 1996 - 2012.

But let's stop with the figures and say the important thing: the available science from John Volpe says he has found adult Atlantics and up to two years of progeny in up to 97% of Vancouver Island rivers with multiple species of wild salmon. This is shocking. Go look at this post and read it for yourself:, and then this post:, and then this post:

I think you get the point: BC fish farms lose a whole lot of fish, to, well, holes. Volpe says in his 2014 article, that it is obvious that fish farms don't report their escapes, because they are showing up in almost every river he looked in. Shocking.

And Slim says it is well managed? The scientist is saying they obviously don't report the losses of escaped fish. How well managed is that? And we haven't mentioned that this is DFO work cuz that is who Volpe worked for...

Oh, okay, you want more stats, and here they are:

And what reasons did the escapes happen in BC: "Escapes were due to system failure related to extreme weather, net tears or structural damage resulting from propeller or boat collision with the nets, attacks by predators such as seals and sea lions or through human error and vandalism."

Sounds a lot like Cooke in WA, doesn't it? Yes, it does.

And, of course there is more, known as 'leakage', about 1% of all fish put in pens, or about 160,000 every year. (See farmed and dangerous). Hmm. Isn't Cooke 263,000, as in they are both pretty bug numbers? Well, yes.

And if we figure out the 'leakage' on today's numbers, it is: 85 farms X 600,000 fish/farm X .01, (or 1%) = 510,000 fish escape every year in BC. That is huge!

And, Slim, up there says BC fish farms are better managed, stellar, in fact.

And Volpe swam some WA creeks, too, and found escapers there: "John Volpe of the University of Victoria, one of the few scientists that has studied escaped Atlantic salmon in the Pacific Northwest, has documented reproducing runs in British Columbia. He also videotaped Atlantic salmon in Scatter Creek, in Rochester, Thurston County, in 2003, presumably escaped from a nearby Atlantic salmon grow pond."

And, there are more stats: " Captures of free-swimming Atlantics in both saltwater and freshwater in Washington, Alaska and British Columbia have been confirmed for years, a 2005 study by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission shows." Seattle Times, Feb 26, 2018

And: "Atlantics have been found in WDFW snorkel surveys in 12 streams in Washington since at least 2003." Also, Seattle Times.


The BC Stats Report may be downloaded as a PDF here:

And look at the table summarizing the data here:  

I know this post is getting very long, and tiring, but one important thing in the table that you have to know a little economics to know, and, well, I do, is: if you look at the GDP contribution and the total revenue, you will note the disparity between the two figures. Fish farms contribute almost nothing to the BC GDP (that $61.9M) and at the same time the revenue is more than 750% higher. That means that the great amount of the revenue leaves BC, leaves Canada and goes home to Oslo Norway where company head offices dole it out as dividends to shareholders around the world, and also keep a whole lot.

I'm a little tired here, so I'll stop... but if you want more, let me know, because there is far more to say on the management side. and the legal side and the conservation and protection side, not to mention the sewage, the billions of fish killed to feed the farms... and on it goes.

And let's not have an earth quake, because after all there are 85 farms X 600,000 fish in a good year = 51 million. And Chile lost a whole bunch. Hmm.

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