Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oct 3 Rally for Wild Salmon

Join the Oct 3 Rally for Wild Salmon – Presented by the Wild Salmon Circle

The Wild Salmon Circle is a citizen action group recently formed to build a large-scale public movement to save wild salmon from total collapse on our coast. The rally will feature music, information, and speakers including Alexandra Morton, Chief Bob Chamberlin, and representatives of the wilderness tourism, commercial, and sports fisheries.

Saturday, Oct. 3 @ 1pm - Vancouver Art Gallery (Georgia St. side between Howe and Hornby)

Bring your family, art, music, salmon stories, pots n’ pans. We’ll provide speakers with real solutions & entertainment for all ages!

Wild Salmon are in crisis. We need to get sea lice and disease breeding salmon farms out of ancient migratory routes and off our coast permanently.
  • Join the Wild Salmon Circle – citizens concerned with the state of wild salmon
  • Don’t Buy Farmed Salmon – tell your shops & restaurants to stop carrying it or you will not purchase their goods.
  • Sign the petition – 18,000 people already signed it at:
  • Write Prime Minister Harper – 80 Wellington St., Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A2;; fax: 613-941-6900.
  • Also, write Fisheries Minister Shea – Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Parliament Buildings, Wellington St., Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6;

Friday, September 18, 2009

Morton sues Marine Harvest

Biologist Alexandra Morton has laid charges under the Federal Fisheries Act against Marine Harvest Canada Inc. for illegal possession of wild juvenile salmon from an endangered stock.

Hundreds of small salmon were apparently seen spilling onto a dock in Port McNeill June 16, during a transfer of live Atlantic salmon brood stock from the fish farm vessel M.V. Orca Warrior. The vessel's registered owner is Marine Harvest.

"When I received photos of the incident minutes later," says Morton, "I was really surprised the fish lying on the road were young pink salmon, I could not understand what were they doing in Marine Harvest's boat."

"Marine Harvest emailed stating that the young wild salmon had come from the Potts Bay fish farm, just west of Glendale River in Knights Inlet," says Morton. "They were apparently in the farm salmon pens and were scooped up with the Atlantic salmon. We have no idea how many pink salmon ended up going down the highway in the tanks on the truck."

When Morton took her boat to the Potts Bay fish farm she said she saw large schools of pink salmon leaping inside the pens.

"While millions of tax payers dollars and environmental donations have been spent to protect the Glendale River pink salmon from fish farms, last fall was the lowest return yet.

"These are the offspring from that generation and far from safe, they are right in the farm and in their fish packers," said Morton.

Morton has published 15 scientific papers on juvenile pink salmon.

Morton's lawyer, Jeffery Jones corresponded with DFO for six weeks but the Department did not taken any action.

"I have received many reports over the years of herring, black cod and wild salmon in farm pens. The escaped Atlantic salmon that fishermen bring me often have wild fish in their stomachs.

"Are Norwegian farm salmon fattening up on wild BC fish?

"What happens to the wild fish when the nets are pulled?

"What happened to the pink salmon that may have been in the truck?

"DFO has often charged commercial and sport fishermen with illegal possession to protect wild fish, why won't they charge fish farms for the same violation?," asked Morton.

Morton asks that anyone with information on other wild fish in fish farms to contact her at

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Province stops clock on Kootenay IPP

Photo WaterWalk

Fantastic news from West Kootenay EcoSociety's Lee-Ann Unger.

The proposed Glacier/Howser private power project has been put on hold by the Environmental Assessment Office.

This is not over yet (I'm sure you're tired of me saying that) but it's yet another major blow to the BC Liberals' river privatization plans.

My personal comments:
  • Hurray to the people of the West Kootenays! They are my personal heroes and they show us that it can be done, that those mindless Independent Power Producer projects can be stopped. I already paid them tribute here and here, but the magnitude of their feat cannot be overemphasized.
  • The Environmental Assessment Office is a government agency. The EAO does not have the independence of the BC Utilities Commission. It takes orders from Victoria. So any decision that the EAO makes is essentially a Gordon Campbell decision.
  • The Campell government is acknowledging the furious resistance to river privatization in the West Kootenays. It has read the letters of protest that many of you have written. It is trying to defuse the Kootenays bomb before it blows up. It is, IMHO, prepared to jettison AXOR's Glacier/Howser if that's what it takes.
  • The government is playing a smart card here. If they do kill Glacier/Howser, they will be able to trumpet that the environmental assessment process "works". If I were them, that's exactly what I would do. Let's not be naive. The next battle of this endless war will be fought in the public opinion and will be on the issue of whether the environmental assessment process works or not. Get ready to write many letters to the editor!
  • All eyes on Bute Inlet. If Glacier/Howser does get denied, the government is likely to use it as a weapon to get Bute Inlet approved. They cannot afford to lose Bute Inlet. If they do, this IPP business is essentially over. This means that if we have the same kind of public opposition on the Coast as we have seen in the Kootenays, we win. And that, my friends, would be momentous.
Our work is cut out. All hands on deck!


September 9, 2009
Province Stops the Clock On Controversial Private Power Project

Nelson, British Columbia – The proposed Glacier/Howser private power project has hit a major environmental snag and is again floundering over fish. In a surprising move, the provincial Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) stopped the clock on the review of the controversial private power project due to impacts on fish and fish habitat noting these posed a “significant challenge” for the proposed project.
“This is a significant step for the Environmental Assessment Office. It shows that AXOR hasn’t done their homework and there are such serious risks to the environment that the government had to stop the clock. It is a step in the right direction,” says Lee-Ann Unger, West Kootenay EcoSociety. “ However, the fact that the EAO cannot reject the project, regardless of its environmental impact, clearly illustrates problems with the process.”
The EAO suspended the environmental review of the 100MW Glacier/Howser project half way into the 180day assessment process. They are requiring AXOR, the project’s proponent, to gather additional information on fish and fish habitat impacts before they complete the process. The review would be resumed if and when AXOR provides this information. The timeline for the suspension has not been confirmed. Surprisingly, there is no legislation in place to provide the EAO with the ability to reject a project regardless of its environmental impact.
Environmental assessments are designed to assess project components, work with proponents to mitigate project impacts and to make recommendations to the Minister of Environment and Minister of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources. The Ministers make the final decision on whether a project is to be approved.
“In simple terms this project should not go ahead, not now, and not in the future. It should be dead in the water. Its construction would come at too high an environmental cost,” Unger states. “AXOR has had ample time to collect information for the assessment. More time is not going to make this project environmentally sound. It’s time for AXOR to pack up its environmentally irresponsible plans for Glacier and Howser creeks and move them out.”
This project, the largest of its kind proposed for the Kootenays, has been dogged by controversy due to the negative impact it would have on important bull trout populations, a number of threatened and endangered species including grizzly bears, and plans to permanently divert water from four creeks.
The EAO suspension comes on the heels of a series of events including more than 1,100 people flooding a government public meeting on the project in Kaslo, exceeding the town’s population; the BC government receiving more than a thousand public submissions on the project, with more than 90% of these expressing opposition to it; and a joint submission made to the EAO by the Ktunaxa Nation Council, Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), which deemed the project’s potential impacts to fish and fish habitat unacceptable.

For more information or for photos contact: Lee-Ann Unger (250) 226-7829


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Twyla Roscovich on sea lice

A must-see documentary by Twyla Roscovich on salmon fish farms. It specifically addresses the issue of sea lice and Marine Harvest's usage of the SLICE neurotoxin to try to control the epidemic.

Also, I asked Alexandra Morton yesterday why the pink of the Broughton Archipelago are recovering this year while the Fraser sockeye have crashed and how this relates to the sea lice. I am posting her response below:

First of all they went to sea in different years, 2007 for the sockeye and 2008 for the pinks.

Second the fish farmers are delousing their fish in early spring to accommodate the pinks because we all raised this high enough in the media. I looked at both the pinks and the sockeye that are returning this year. The Pinks in both Discovery Islands and Broughton has low lice levels. Marine Harvest deloused their fish and this reduced the lice on the pinks.

But the drug only lasts about 6 weeks and so the sockeye I looked at in the Discovery Islands had heavy lice loads only weeks after the pinks had passed through relatively cleanly.

But I really suspect a disease problem here. The pinks that went through the Discovery Islands with these sockeye in 2007, came home last year and the Broughton was the lowest return yet and the southern pinks I don’t think did well at all either.

I wonder if this is why the Province bailed on fish farms two days ago. I would really like to know what they know.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dear Harald, Save our Salmon

My letter to the King of Norway:

August 21, 2009

Your Royal Highness,

I would like to express my firm opposition to the operation of open net fish farms in British Columbia, and appeal to you to help Canadians protect their cherished wild salmon.

BC's wild salmon stocks are collapsing. Wild salmon is a cornerstone species in BC, with so many other species depending on it, such as the grizzly bear and orca whale to name only two. Orcas are reported to be starving off our coasts for lack of salmon.

According to many scientists, open net fish farms operated by Marine Harvest are a likely contributor to this ongoing collapse.

The people of BC reject open net fish farms en masse: local businesses and politicians, first nations, commercial and sports fishermen, coastal communities, environmentalists, and average citizens such as myself.

Yet our Provincial and Federal governments remain autistic and refuse to acknowledge both the ongoing ecological catastrophy and the people's opposition to open net fish farms, favoring instead the interests of a single corporation which happens to be close to the center of power.

People here know that the ecological impacts of open net fish farms are devastating, and that the economic benefit to their communities in terms of jobs and income is close to nil. They think that the continued operation of those fish farms by Marine Harvest in spite of overwhelming opposition is a disgrace and a scandal. As a result, Marine Harvest is creating a negative image of Norway in BC, which is very unfair to your country.

The scandal must be stopped. I urge you to use all of your constitutional powers to influence policy in a direction favorable to the wild salmon and people of British Columbia.


Ivan Doumenc
Vancouver, BC