Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cohen Commission - BC Still Waiting for DFO to Wake Up - Post 2

The first post of this series on the Environmental Petition I lodged with the federal Auditor General is:

This post is the second of the series. It gives more background to the post above.

Further Background:

The Cohen Commission changed most everything about fish farms in BC as it was the rare occasion that recorded evidentiary evidence that no one, not DFO, not CFIA, not the BC testing system, nor the myriad conflicts of interest they and scientists have with fish farms, can disavow. There is only one future for the environmentally damaging and technologically-dated fish farms – to get out of the water and move to closed-containment recirculating systems on land. If they don’t like it they can go back to Norway because the costs of this industry far out strip the revenue and employment produced.

Fish Farms impede sustainable development. My rough calculations show that only the one cost of sewage treatment for these farms exceeds a staggering $11 Billion – and that is only one cost the BC public shoulders – against a total revenue of $469 Million and a tiny $61.9 Million in Gross Provincial Product (BC Stats Report URL below). The sustainable development is in the other three fishing sectors. In addition, there is the value for eco-tourism lost through killing of wild salmon. Not to mention the animals, though I am not aware what the value of a dead grizzly bear, or eagle is, for instance. For sea lions it is $1,538 each. The figure can be calculated from the $100,000 fine that Skuna Bay fish farm had to pay for drowning 65 sea lions in its nets. Up to 2011, fish farms have killed an estimated 11,469 sea lions and other pinnipeds in BC.

Eliminating fish farms from BCs Pacific Ocean, will increase the other three fishing sectors, the commercial sector being the one that has taken the largest hit from fish farms by their reducing local fish stocks by 50%. (3). This could result in a doubling of commercial sector employment and revenue. Note: fish farm jobs are not new jobs. They represent eliminated jobs suffered by the other three fishing sectors, particularly commercial and processing.

The Aquaculture sector (much broader than simply fish farms) comprises only 9.3% of BC Gross Provincial Product attributable to the four fishing sectors. The other three sectors comprise 90.7%. The actual fish farm employment stats for 2011 was a very low 840 actual jobs (they mistakenly released them, and I gathered up the figures and references and they are maintained on my files).

Commercial sector jobs lost are 1,400 alone, when 50% loss of wild salmon stocks are accounted for. Then there are losses in the processing sector and sport sector.

DFO paid BC Stats to come up with the current figures on the fishing sectors:, but then failed to take them into account and have not reported any relationship, other than its name being on the cover. Why? Because the real BC Stats fish farm figures are way lower than the ones from industry and DFO. For example, the fish farm number for employment and revenue is: 6,000 jobs and $800 million revenue. As calculated above, any industry employment number can be divided by 7.3 to arrive at the actual number of jobs; and revenue figures by 2.

Also note that fish farm employment drops over time as they introduce lights and feeding machines so workers are not required. There is also the added, as yet unvalued loss, of herring and salmonid stocks that are attracted into fish farm nets at nights under the lights. They get eaten; they get diseases and die.

Fish farms eliminate sustainable development in the BC coastal region and need to be removed from the ocean as the disease hearings portion of the Cohen Commission made clear.

After Morton vs DFO, Judge Christopher Hinkson concluded in his February 2009 ruling that BC fish farms fall under federal jurisdiction. The province of BC retains only site licences, which it can revoke in 60 days. The Cohen Report is the most important environmental document regarding the outcomes for wild BC salmon for more than two decades since the Pearse report.

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: 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

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