Saturday, 13 August 2016

Times Colonist - New research will help salmon - Updated Aug 23, 2016

A few comments on the TC's Aug 13's editorial of the above title:

Please note I freelanced for the TC for a decade, and my comments here are about the text, not a criticism of the paper. The point is that a false impression can be attached to an article that lacks deep knowledge of the subject.

1. The Harper government opened the Cohen Commission to get the subject out of an election year, not because of any great interest in falling salmon numbers.

2. New money for science is a good thing, but only if it gets used for a good purpose. Until I see what it actually gets used for, I restrain my enthusiasm. Not to mention what of the environmental law gutting that Harper did, that is actually returned to what it should be. The early word is that DFO senior staff in Ottawa, don't want to.

3. Leblanc says 32 of 75 Cohen recommendations have been implemented. In my last post, I pointed to my Environmental Petition to the federal Auditor General, that came back as generic mush, not disaggregated budget amounts and FTEs, in other words, until we get those things, there is no reason to believe LeBlanc's words. After all, Min Shea gave me the opposite: 

4. Research to create a sustainable aquaculture industry. This is an oxymoron. There is nothing sustainable about an industry that uses the ocean as a free, open sewer (or if you prefer economics-speak, their sewage is an externality), decimates the world's stocks of wild forage fish for feed. And for sustainability, industry has to be on land, and use vegetable sources for feed, but not ones that result in rainforest being cut down, natives being thrown off their land, and GMO soy or other crop.

And we need to raise a vegetarian, like tiliapia, not an exotic carnivore, that requires fishmeal.

In fact, Canadians and Norwegians think that fish farms are 'an ecological train wreck' - their words, not mine:

6. Science will answer the contentious questions surrounding fish farms. Well, no, fish farms around the world are always asking for more science. That is because they get five more years in saltwater before calling once again for more science. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of science on the environmental damage caused by fish farms. Google: fish farm environmental damage and you will be reading for days.

Helge Aarskogg, CEO in a related issue, pointed out that lice were Marine Harvest's biggest problem. In fact they have 90 studies on-going at present. What this does is create conflict of interest in science, and increasingly journals require divestiture of sponsorship.

A BC example, is that MH did private work to find no lice problem in Quatsino Sound last year. I published a list of more than 30 scientific studies that showed lice are a problem in BC, as well as DFO's own problem numbers in Quatsino:

7. Yes, Fraser sockeye numbers are bad in 2016. But don't forget that the research in the Cohen Commission showed 100% of Cultus Lake sockeye had ISA, the globe's worst disease. DFO has done nothing about this so far.

8 Last year only 1.4 million salmon returned to BC Rivers. The error here is using the Fraser's number as the entire province. Wrong. For example, the Stamp number of sockeye for last year was 1.8 million.

9. Cohen said we need more work on fish farms. Really? What he said was that in absence of scientific evidence to the contrary, that Quadra area farms should be removed. His most important recommendation was to take the conflict of interest of DFO out of DFO and for them to get on with the Wild Salmon Policy, etc. The TC makes this point.

10. The BC Salmon Farmers Ass says fish farms employ 5,000 people and produce $1.1 Billion in BC. This is miles wrong.The best stats, the BC Stats report said it is only 1,700 jobs, with only $469 M in revenue, with only $61.9 Million in GDP - less than 10% of the other sectors, commercial, processing and sport.

As for the 5,000 figure, they usually use the 6,000 number, but the best stats (look at the index of this site to find the table), are 1700, or 34% of the Ass claim. Furthermore, I went out and found the actual figure of employment and found it is only 820 actual jobs - references in my files. In other words, actual employment is only 16.5% of what the Ass claims.

11. Fish farms say science and certification are on their side. Well, no, go Google the science and it demonstrates lots of problems around the globe. For example, the March algal bloom in Chile, in part the result of fish farm sewage, killed 25 Million fish and resulted in more than 10,000 jobs being lost. And you will recall the algal bloom in 2016 in Clayoquot, and Grieg Seafood's furunculosis fish deaths in Nootka in 2016.

If you want to see how fish farms actually operate, I think you will be some stunned to read my News Bites post of the bad news in the fish farm/seafood industry. Marine Harvest for instance, had the CEO of the company that owns MH, sentenced to a jail term for corruption, of hundreds of millions of bribes in Uzbekistan. There is far more: Just scan the boldfacing for a minute.

I should add that you can find the links to the science on this site that says BC's salmon have declined in numbers by 50% since fish farms set up shop. And the global figure for smolt lost is 34%. Check out the indexes:

As for the certifications, most do not stand up to scrutiny. The BAPs are industry funded. The ASCs include in-ocean fish farms and thus are not reputable. The MSCs are usually out of reach, but
Seafood News did an editorial on the cartel nature and manipulation problems with the MSCs. The only system that is good is the Monterrey Bay one and it lists in-ocean fish farms as unsustainable.


I agree with much of the ending of the editorial, and suggest that you go read it. But I have no belief in science helping things, as manipulated as it is around the world. Why even DFO had a defection scientist, Michael Kent, who disavowed his research on the Cohen stand - along with three other scientists - something very disappointing to those of us who follow the debate closely. You can find his words in the Cohen transcript.

Shouldn't DFO be getting back all the taxpayer dollars they paid Kent? And, what does that do to all the papers on the subject of salmon leukemia virus, a term that he created? Doesn't that render all those papers false? Just so you know, a few years ago, I read all 125 abstracts of his articles. What parts of the list should be taken off the public record? And by whom?

The abstract list showed he worked with fish farm friendly scientists, for example, Saksida.

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