Friday, 29 June 2018

Managing Steelhead Into Extinction - Bob Hooton

I have pointed out that DFO has been managing salmon into extinction for the past 40 years - and killer whales, too. The quick solution is money to habitat restoration and netpens of chinook.

You can see my post on it: It has received 9,000 page views, so you might want to read it if you have not. It is a 'cut to the chase' note to Minister LeBlanc.

Most sport fishers will know the name Bob Hooton who was Mr. Steelhead for the many decades he worked with the provincial government on behalf of everyone's steelhead.

He has just put out an article on the situation with, primarily, Thompson Steelhead, which have formed our best known trophy fishery for decades, and the beauty of Spey rods on the wide runs of the interior, where the Thompson River runs.

I found some shocking stuff in his article on a number of subjects: the MSC certification scheme, considered the most important and best in the world, has some real problems, meaning that fisheries and fish farms that get accredited will have problems, just as we found out about the ASCs in Clayoquot Sound, with the Cermaq lice levels reaching more than 30 per fish.

(This post gives you the Cermaq lice story in Clayoquot:

Hooton also found other problems like DFO favouring First Nations fisheries, rather than the fish, also, commercial fishing, with science that just isn't right;

Quote: "For as long as I can remember as a member of the government agency responsible for steelhead management (in fresh water at least), the commercial fishing industry was held to be the single greatest factor controlling the abundance of Thompson steelhead. I’ll agree the case in support of that was strong at one time. Whereas the commercial fishery doesn’t get a pass today, it has been eclipsed by the First Nations fisheries prosecuted within the Fraser River. Call it the elephant in the room"

Quote:  "Coincidentally, we have governments pushing harder than ever to build voting capital by being seen as atoning for the injustices of our forefathers. Pile on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to add momentum to what was already growing exponentially."... "For coastal First Nations, fish are clearly becoming currency..."

COSEWIC - Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has pushed for endangered status but the problem is several life cycles will be completed before Ottawa does anything.

Now DFO science.

Quote: "The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) would have us believe they are doing everything possible to protect IFS [interior Fraser steelhead]. They are pursuing new computer models that assess the “exposure” of IFS to commercial fishing nets along their migration path from Johnstone Strait through the lower Fraser River. What that means is they are reviewing past data on where and when catches of IFS occurred and calculating the time over which they would be present in the conventional commercial seine and gill net fishing areas. Then they are talking about “rolling 3 or 4 week closure windows” to protect 80% of the run from harvest “with a high degree of certainty”. No one I know who is familiar with the IFS migration routes and timing is the least bit comfortable with such desk driven exercises. First, IFS are present for 10 or more weeks, not 3 or 4."

Hooton goes on to give several other compelling reasons why DFO's science approach just won't do the deed. And you should read them.

On the MSC, Quote: The "issue is the certification of the Fraser River chum fisheries as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) guidelines and process. Add on the fact those Agriculture people are also responsible for licensing the shore-based fish processors, as well as marketing British Columbia seafood products, and there is just a bit of a conflict of interest within the provincial government itself.

Anyone not familiar with the green washing marketing tool that MSC certification is all about might want to consider a quote from an excellent review article published in Biological Conservation 161 (2013) 10-17. “During its 15 years, the MSC, which has an annual budget of close to US$20 million, has attached its logo to more than 170 fisheries. These certifications have not occurred without protest. Despite high costs and difficult procedures, conservation organizations and other groups have filed and paid for 19 formal objections to MSC fisheries certifications. Only one objection has been upheld such that the fishery was not certified. ... An analysis of the formal objections indicates that the MSC’s principles for sustainable fishing are too lenient and discretionary, and allow for overly generous interpretation by third-party certifiers and adjudicators, which means that the MSC label may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders”.

I would add to this that there are no awards/certification schemes for fish farms/fisheries that are completely legit and that includes the BAPS, the GAAs and the ASCs; the latter charges up to $250,000 per year to use their logo, and the MSC requires the fish farm/fishery to have an ASC to give its own, MSC certification - as in a conflict of interest. Here is a post I did on this:

Quote: "A recent presentation by a top official in DFO’s enforcement division revealed the

enforcement effort in 2017 was the lowest in the past four years. Our man also stated plainly that the enforcement patrols in the Johnstone Strait area were intended to satisfy all comers that the commercial fisheries were “clean” and thus the MSC conditions for certification upheld. Predictably, no significant transgressions were detected so the MSC beat goes on."

This is exactly what Randy Nelson a former director of C&P, as enforcement is known, has said in his book Poachers, Polluters and Politics, 2014. Four years later there still is not enough staff, and they don't do much when they do it.

Please go and read Hooton's take on this as he is the best person in the province to comment on this subject. I have just skimmed the surface here. Hooton has much more in depth stuff to say.


Final note: when it comes to the environment, I am onside with our First Nations people, 100%. What I am saying here is just that this is an issue that hasn't been properly addressed.

Taxpayer Support for Fish Farms - Too Much Money To Ruin Our Ocean and Kill Our Salmon

Here is a table from the 2004 report by Sarah K. Cox, link below.

Taxpayer Support of the Aquaculture Industry, 1997-2004: Some Big Ticket Items

Next time fish farms complain about the cost of on-land fish farming, tell them they have received more than $100 million to trash our oceans.  And this list is only from 1997 to 2004.

Year                     Amount                          Description

1997-98              $40,000,000                     To the NBSGA for compensation for ISA
1998                     $6,300,000                      DFO money used for aquaculture science
2000                   $20,000,000                      To ACRDP for aquaculture research and development
2000                   $14,400,000                      To AquaNet for aquaculture research and development
2000                        $800,000                      Paid to Heritage and others to accommodate for ISA             
2000                        $400,000                      Paid to NBSGA from N.B. government
2002                     $3,750,000                      Paid to BCARD for aquaculture research ($2.75
                                                                     million came from Fisheries Renewal money)
2002                     $1,250,000                      To support the UBC Aquaculture Research Chair
1997-2003               $831,537                      Money paid directly to the BCSFA
1999-2003            $1,004,750                      To CAIA from DFO and HRDC
1994-1998            $6,400,000                      $1.6 million in annual funding to the NRC
2004                     $2,300,000                       Forgiven fines and back rents for B.C. salmon farms
2004                     $7,500,000                       Loan to deal with ISA
2004                     $2,400,000                       To set up the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences

Total                 $107,336,287

These figures come from: It is titled: Diminishing Returns, An Investigation into the Five Multinational Corporations that Control British Columbia’s Salmon Farming Industry, by Sarah K. Cox.

Do remember that that is $107 Million of our money paid to multi-billion dollar, multi-national companies, from Norway. They should be paying us for all the years they use our oceans and degrade them. 

And this $107 millon does not even count the $177 million we paid fish farms for their diseased dead fish. In total, that's $284 million we taxpayers paid to fish farms to fill our oceans with sewage, disease, algal blooms and lice. We don't want to pay. See:

And there is even more money given to fish farms. We taxpayers in BC don't want our money spent on an industry that openly ruins our oceans:

Some projects funded by the ACRDP:
• $146,000 for the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association to study resistance to Kudoa
disease in farmed Chinook salmon.
• $215,400 to the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association to examine risk factors associated with the Kudoa parasite
• $64,000 to Marine Harvest Canada (Nutreco) to study genetic variations in
farmed Chinook salmon and resistance to Kudoa.
• $116,600 to Omega Salmon Group to examine the impact of stress on the susceptibility of salmon to the Kudoa parasite.
• $100,000 to Heritage Salmon, the only commercial producer of farmed haddock in the world,for a project “to improve the quality of eggs resulting from the spawning of haddock by manipulating the spawning cycle of broodstock.”
• $175,000 to Omega Salmon Group (Pan Fish) to determine the best methods and techniques for improving handling and increasing survival of broodstock eggs.
• $96,200 to EWOS Canada (Cermaq) to study alternatives to costly marine fish oils as nutrition for sablefish, a “candidate” species for aquaculture.
• $135,000 to Heritage Salmon, St. Laurent Gulf Products and Maple Leaf Foods Agresearch to study how to reduce production costs by experimenting with different types of fish feed.
• $206,000 to Marine Harvest Canada (Nutreco), Stolt Sea Farm, Aquamix Research Ltd, Lyuquot Seafood Ltd, ALS Environmental and North Island Laboratories to study whether shellfish-finfish polyculture is a viable option for the B.C. aquaculture industry.
• $25,000 to eight salmon farming companies, including Stolt, Heritage, Omega, Marine Harvest and Cermaq to examine the abundance of algae at specific salmon aquaculture sites.
• $135,000 to Stolt Sea Farm to examine environmental constraints affecting the long-term viability of aquaculture in the Broughton archipelago.
• $67,500 to Stolt and Cermaq to use genetic markers to determine the variation
of existing strains of Atlantic salmon in production on Canada’s west coast.
Total:   $1,481,100
Talk about conflict of interest of the BC and Federal Governments. See what ACRDP gave out:
 Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP). In August 2000, Canada’s fisheries minister Herb Dhaliwal established a $75 million “Program for Sustainable Aquaculture.” Included in the program was a $20-million fund over five years for aquaculture research and development. The Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) is a partnership between DFO researchers and salmon farming companies and other aquaculture companies.
Scientific research projects are proposed by industry. Industry and government both fund the projects, with industry contributions averaging approximately 25 percent of total costs. Research is conducted at DFO facilities or at aquaculture sites in partnership with DFO researchers.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Tourism Operators Speak Out Against Salmon Farming

This note speaks for itself, sent to BC Ministers:

Owners express concerns for 26,000 jobs and
$1.5 billion in annual expenditures

VICTORIA -  Seventy-five independent business operators and business associations are jointly calling on the B.C. government to protect the province’s wild salmon economy. Concerned by the severe decline of many B.C. salmon stocks, the operators point to growing evidence of the impacts of disease originating on salmon farms.
In an open letter to the Provincial ministers responsible for making decisions about salmon farming tenures (leases), the operators say that they are “uniting to express our grave concern about the negative effects of open-net fish farming on wild stocks” and highlight the immense value of marine-based tourism to the provincial economy. The industry provides employment for 26,000 people and attracts expenditures of $1.5 billion annually.
K’odi Nelson and Jared Towers of Alert Bay, B.C. began the initiative to reach out to other tourism operators to see if they were equally concerned.
“We were extremely pleased by the support that came back from the industry,” said Nelson, of Sea Wolf Adventures.  “We had pretty limited time to do the outreach and it’s getting into busy season, but the response was very strong and positive.”
Nelson says that diminishing stocks of wild fish hurt every operator in the marine and wilderness tourism business. 
“It doesn’t matter if you’re doing bird counts, grizzly viewing or sport fishing, the loss of wild fish stocks is devastating.  We’ve seen the fish just disappear from places where they’ve always been plentiful, leaving the bears to starve.”
The operators are calling on the B.C. government to freeze salmon farm production levels province-wide, lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds the farms, work with the federal government to transition them to land-based operations and rebuild wild salmon stocks without delay. 
“We’ve become extremely concerned by the news of diseases being imported to B.C. by these farms,”said Kevin Smith of Maple Leaf Adventures. “Our native salmon stocks don’t stand a chance if we’re pouring foreign diseases over the smolts headed out to sea and the adults returning to spawn. The only answer is to separate the farmed Atlantics in closed containment.”
“Our coastal communities depend on tourism as the mainstay of the local economy,” said Georgia Murray of Nimmo Bay Resort, a fishing, wilderness and wildlife adventure business in the Broughton Archipelago.  “We, as front liners, know the damage that is done by salmon farms. So Nimmo Bay Resort stands with the other marine tourism businesses and First Nations against the continuation of fish farming in its current form in the waters of our coast.  Move to close containment farming on land.”
K’odi Nelson, Sea Wolf Adventures (Grizzly Bear Viewing), Alert Bay: 250-974-3822
Georgia Murray, Nimmo Bay Resort, Port McNeill, Victoria:  778-587-1420
Kevin Smith, Maple Leaf Adventures (Wilderness Cruises) Victoria: 250-881-3671
Karen Wristen, Executive Director, Living Oceans  604-788-5634