Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Science for Fish Farms? - Why Not ON LAND? DFO Doesn't get BC, or Atlantic Canada, Updated Feb 28, 2019

What is so hard to hear and understand when citizens from across Canada, not to mention around the world, say to their governments: we want fish farms out of our oceans and put on land? And we have been saying it for 30 years. Hmm.

Well, read the following response I got to letters to DFO Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, from Andrew Thompson, Regional Director, Fisheries Management Branch. It's a total disregard and the hubris of 'we will solve it with science' which after some 100 thousand pages of science that I have read I have come to view science wrt fish farms is: naive, hubris or a manipulation. DFO is the hubris.

His response is why residents of both coasts have lost patience with DFO for its deafness, and inability to hear. The problem is that BC has 99.8% of all the salmon in Canada, and this is a big issue, as is the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. The Liberals will not win many seats west of the Alberta border, not to mention west of Saskatchewan, in the 2019 election.

Here is what Andrew Thompson has to say for Jonathan Wilkinson. What I have to say is below Andrew's response on behalf of DFO:

"Dear Mr. Reid:

Thank you for your correspondence of December 6, 11 and 17, 2018 regarding fish farming. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

I know that many Canadians have real concerns about the impact of the aquaculture industry. Global demand for fish and seafood as a high-protein food source has increased significantly in the last decades, and it is clear the world needs aquaculture. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is committed to moving forward in a way that protects the environment, the oceans, and fish stocks.

Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, and an Independent Expert Panel have examined how Canada can strengthen aquaculture science and how science informs decision making. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is reviewing the findings and welcomes the recommendations; Canada is already moving forward with many of the recommendations.

Making our oceans cleaner, safer, and healthier is critical. Since Budget 2016, DFO has hired more than 290 science professionals across the country to better protect and manage our oceans.

The Government of Canada—in partnership with provinces and territories, industry, indigenous partners, environmental groups, and stakeholders—must work to ensure we have an economically viable and environmentally sustainable path forward.

To achieve that goal, the Government of Canada is implementing a suite of initiatives, including:
  • studying alternative technologies for aquaculture, including land- and sea-based closed containment technology; 
  • moving towards an area-based approach to aquaculture management that considers local environmental, social, and economic factors—including considerations relating to migration pathways for wild salmon;
  • developing an overarching framework for aquaculture risk management, based on the precautionary approach;
  • creating a single comprehensive set of regulations—the General Aquaculture Regulations—that will bring more clarity for industry, stakeholders, and the public about how aquaculture is managed; and
  • developing a federal Aquaculture Act that will enhance sector transparency, facilitate the adoption of best practices, and provide greater consistency and certainty for industry.

These measures will change the way aquaculture is done in Canada by establishing a more holistic approach to the management of aquaculture, creating more jobs, and protecting our environment.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians can have confidence in the environmental sustainability of our aquaculture sector. Canada will continue working with partners on aquaculture management. Canada will ensure that decisions are made based on robust and rigorous science.

Regarding your interest in participating on the aquaculture technology steering committee, a committee has already been established, and is made up of representatives from First Nations, the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada, industry and the environmental/philanthropic community. At this time, we cannot take on additional participation on the steering committee. I encourage you to keep an eye out for the report, which will be published late spring 2019.

Thank you for writing. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Thomson
Regional Director
Fisheries Management Branch
Pacific Region"

In response:

1. Aquaculture - no one said we did not want aquaculture, all we said is fish farms should be on land. This 30 year fight will only end one way, with fish farms on land, or wiped out by global on land farms. The fight goes on.

2. Protecting fish stocks -  the reality is that DFO has been managing salmon into extinction for forty years in BC. Claiming you are doing the opposite, just makes people lose respect for DFO. Here is a post that shows the solution: Instead, DFO offers more of the same, rather than protect fish stocks, and bring them back.

3. Science informs decision making - I have done many posts on DFO deliberately 'fibbing' about science. Go back and read the Volpe articles I wrote, and how DFO who was going to be part of his science on Atlantics in BC rivers, but refused two days before he was to start. Here is one, there are half a dozen, cruise the 2017 posts: Volpe continued on without DFO's help and found 97% of rivers with multiple species of salmon that he swam had adult Atlantics and progeny. Shocking, and DFO ignores this science. Science does not inform decision making in DFO. These are the Van Isle rivers:

And in 2018, DFO refused to publish a paper about the east coast that showed farmed Atlantics get into rivers and spawn. It had to be leaked from DFO by one its own staff members to the public. That is not science, DFO.

Here is one post, but there are more:

Here is another post on failing to do a good scientific process:,

Here is another post on DFO's poor science record. It has a summary of the Volpe story in it: And here is a good review of the escape issue science with lots of links to follow up:

And here is a scientist, Brian Riddell, criticizing DFO's fake science approach the Rapid Science Response:

I could go on to give you Dr. Kristi Miller, from DFO itself, showing that PRV is existent in BC, causes HSMI and gives jaundice/anemia to wild chinook, but you can Google this one. The point is that I can marshal a dozen science papers that show DFO does not do science. It professes to, then wriggles out of it, a polite word for 'fibbing', which is polite for 'lying'.

Here is what MPs Elizabeth May and Fin Donnelly have to say:

4. 290 Scientists - show me the list of FTE's. Show me how many in BC, show me how many are Conservation and Protection, that enforce laws.

5. Sorry, I have run out of patience with rebutting the above notes. But, as stated, citizens have been telling DFO to take fish farms out of the ocean for 30 years. When will they do it?

You can find posts on the Aquaculture Act. Here is one:

Here are the letters that I sent into Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister. They speak for themselves:

 Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO)
Sent: December-06-18 4:24 PM

To: Lana Popham, Minister; Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO); Justin Trudeau; John Horgan;
Andrew Weaver
Cc: Olsen.MLA, Adam; 'Furstenau.MLA, Sonia';;;; Watershed Watch Salmon Society;
Christianne Wilhelmson; Living Oceans; 'Alex Morton'

Subject: Canadians Says No to Proposed Aquaculture Act - See Popham and Wilkinson Stand
against British Columbians 


I want you to know that you have completely alienated the public on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Canada by expressing support for a new Aquaculture Act, that leaves the environmentally‐damaging fish farm industry in the ocean. We have been telling you for years we want fish farms on land. You are out of date by a decade.

In‐ocean is an old tech dinosaur, being rapidly put out of business by the move to land around the world. In the USA, Atlantic Sapphire, Whole Oceans, Nordic Aquafarms and Aquabanc are aiming for 218,000MT of salmon on land, almost 250% the size of BC’s old tech sector. Around the world the PE Fund is aiming at even more: 260,000mt of on‐land salmon. Globally the push is even larger: there are 255 on‐land RAS systems, comprising some 20,000 actual farms. Ask CEO Andreasson from Atlantic Sapphire, and the Marine Harvest execs who have jumped to on land, to update you.

Atlantic Canada And Pacific Canada will not forget this egregious stand by your parties in the next elections.

DC Reid


Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO)
Sent: December-11-18 1:26 PM

To: Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO); Lubczuk, Jocelyn;

Subject: BC Fish Farms

Hi Jonathan

Seafood News, Dec 11, 2018: ““The Government of Canada is committed to making aquaculture more effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable,” the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said in a press release.””

I am astonished that you don’t just do what British Columbians want and take fish farms out of the water and put them on land. We have been telling the government since the 1980s to take fish farms out of the water. Instead, you trot out the gaping open door of science that fish farms use to manipulate the situation and stay in the water. They have been using science since the 70s: the science says we didn’t do that, we need more science. When the science comes in they say, the science doesn’t say we are the problem… we need more science…

You can expect the Liberals to lose those 18 seats in BC if you do this.

Why not get ahead of the curve and realize that in‐ocean is going to be put out of business in North America by the on-land movement in the States. Atlantic Sapphire, Whole Oceans, Nordic Aquafarms and Aquabanc, at 218mt at grow out will be almost 250% bigger than in BC and will take its major market because consumers don’t want in‐ocean fish farm fish. Then there is the PE Fund in Asia, aiming at 260,000mt on land, will take a big bite of the rest of BC’s markets. And globally, I have found 259 on‐land fish farms:‐different‐on‐land‐fishfarm‐systems.html.

In‐ocean is a decade out of date. Wake up, and start giving out on‐land licences for free. This is what Norway is doing because it is fed up with in‐ocean environmental damage, a $9‐ to $12‐million subsidy based on the in‐ocean auction price of a licence in 2014.

The only reason that the Norwegian companies came to Canada was that we have less stringent laws than Norway. See: From the fibbing article: “8. And why did Norwegian companies, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood come to Canada in the first place? They came to Canada/Chile/Etc. because of weaker laws: "The report Fishy Business: The Economics of Salmon Farming In BC notes that in the late 1980s, Norwegian companies were faced with strict environmental regulations and farm size restrictions in their own country, so they decided to expand in countries where regulations were less strict (i.e. Canada, Chile)."”

Wake up Liberal party.

DC Reid


Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO)
Sent: December-17-18 1:51 PM
To: Minister / Ministre (DFO/MPO);

Subject: Include me in Your Technology Review

Hi Jonathan Wilkinson

The third section on fish farm technology: State of Salmon Aquaculture Technology Study, states that: “A key focus will be potential ways these technologies can reduce interactions between aquaculture and the environment, including any potential impacts on wild salmon. Potential areas of study include technologies around land-based and ocean-based closed-containment, as well as open-ocean or offshore aquaculture.”

I am stepping forward to ask you to put me on this committee/steering committee. I doubt there are many people in the world who know this field better than I do. For example, I have the longest global list of onland/closed/RAS systems around the globe, some 260 different systems:

I am familiar with the entire globe, including offshore, the new USA push, the PE Fund drive as well as the Norwegian experience with innovative forms of fish farms.

My background includes a BSc in biochemistry, so I understand the science, and a Masters in Public
Administration with Treasury Board Staff experience that gives me the skills to number-crunch with the best.


DC (Dennis) Reid


Perhaps I should have expected  the response that DFO's Andrew Thompson gave me, and not hoped for better. After all, I wrote more than 5,000 minister's letters when I worked for Finance in BC.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will be composing my own letter to this useless Minister and his local guy, with copies to the Premier and Lisa Popham. Your prophecy about losing seats is right on...the Liberal party is doomed west of Winnipeg.