The Wild Salmon Circle is a grassroots, volunteer citizen-run and -funded action group, dedicated to the removal of open-net fish farms from BC's coast and the restoration of healthy wild salmon runs in Canada. Read More »
5 for 5
Remember, the Wild Salmon Circle isn’t so much an organization, but a network of concerned citizens like you standing up and making their voices heard. Help spread the word – Talk to five of your friends or family members about the importance of wild salmon in BC and get them to join the Wild Salmon Circle. Let’s all stand together and create the healthy future with plentiful wild salmon that we all want to see.
December 11, 2009
Dear Friends, With the holiday season fast upon us, everyone is busier than ever and we can appreciate that your time is in short supply. With that in mind, we’ve tried to keep this update short, with brief highlights from our last event and a request that you take one quick and important action to help direct the future of aquaculture management in BC.
Help Define How the DFO Manages Aquaculture in BC
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As a result of Alexandra Morton’s win in the Supreme Court of BC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is required to take over management of aquaculture from the Province this February. To accomplish this, they’ve been given an official mandate to develop new regulations for aquaculture in BC, and are looking for public input. Meetings took place yesterday and continue today in Campbell River, but you can have your say right now by email.
Send a letter to Trevor Swerdfager, Director General, Aquaculture Management, at email@example.com and tell him how you think the fish farm industry should be managed here in BC. Remember to forward a copy of your letter to your local MP as well.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any other public meetings as the process goes on (and hopefully with a little more advanced notice). We couldn’t make it out to Campbell River ourselves, but have sent the somewhat lengthy letter below. Feel free to use it for inspiration or to take points for your own letter, but try to create your own unique letter. It doesn't have to be that long. We know you’ve got lots of your own ideas to tell Mr. Swerdfager.
Dear Mr. Swerdfager,
This year British Columbians witnessed a catastrophic collapse of Fraser sockeye. This event has been linked to many factors, one of the most troubling of which is the presence in BC waters of over 130 salmon farms, 90% of which are Norwegian-owned. The time for strict regulatory enforcement of this industry is now.
On October, 3rd 2009, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, our newly formed group of concerned citizens held a rally – our third – calling for the immediate removal of salmon farms from wild salmon migratory routes. Over 700 people showed up from all around: Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Central Coast, Sea-to-Sky Country, the Interior, and even Washington State. This is only a small indication of the widespread concern and anger at the promotion of salmon farms by DFO and the provincial government.
Our rally was not only an expression of over a decade of frustration; it was a measure of the hope these citizens have that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will embrace its role as a conservation leader and depart from the disastrous policies of the past. The DFO mandate, as granted it by Canadian citizens, is to protect our wild fish. It is not to promote salmon aquaculture.
Open-net salmon farming – like leaded gasoline and asbestos – is a failed industrial experiment. The reasons it was attempted are understandable, but it has been a total disappointment to all British Columbians, including a great many who have been employed by it. It is a polluting, toxic and dangerous industry. It is devastating to wild salmon, as research in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Chile and BC has demonstrated. Therefore, it is extremely disturbing to witness the intransigence and denial displayed by both the DFO and the BC government. We demand an end to the denial of facts in the name of short-sighted profits.
We recognize the benefit of aquaculture jobs to people who need them. But both industry and government have failed these citizens by promoting an unstable, unsustainable industry that cannot exist in BC without a radical overhaul to closed-containment. Salmon farms exist solely to serve their shareholders, the vast majority of which – in the case of Grieg, Marine Harvest and Cermaq – reside in Norway and Europe. The open-net salmon-farm model does not serve the long-term interests of its employees, the ecosystem, the coastal residents of BC, or Canadians across the country. On the contrary, it squanders our future by harming wild salmon and other species.
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Besides the catastrophic effects of sea-lice, salmon farming has created reservoirs for endemic IHN, causing mass outbreaks of the disease on both coasts of Vancouver Island, and on the mainland several hundred kilometers north, near Bella Bella. To date, and despite a 2005 petition to the Auditor General from several groups (David Suzuki, the Georgia Strait Alliance, and the United Fishermen's Union), your agency has done no research on the risks such outbreaks pose to wild stocks - or the risks posed by the many other diseases bred by this industry. It is virtually inevitable that salmon farms will afflict our coast, as they did Chile, with the exotic disease ISA. This will devastate not only farmed salmon, but our wild fish as well. It is long past time to invoke and act on the precautionary principle. The risks these open-net salmon farms pose to our ecology and our economy are totally unacceptable.
So please take action now. There is still time to protect wild salmon and ensure that we do not suffer another collapse; a chance for federal and provincial authorities to reverse the failed policies of the past and preserve wild salmon for generations to come.
Step one is to make sure a complete moratorium is placed on all new farms, and on all expansion of existing farms – not stuffing them to double or triple capacity, as is currently being contemplated. Step two is to close down all farms sited on or near wild salmon migratory routes. Specifically, as a bare minimum measure, this means immediately fallowing all farms in the Wild Salmon Narrows. Step three is to get the remaining farms out of the ocean.
Please note, these are OUR oceans and these are OUR wild fish. They do not belong to these corporations, who are so brazenly and outrageously exempt from both the spirit and letter of the Fisheries Act.
The announcement of a Judicial Inquiry into the sockeye collapse is encouraging, but we are not willing to stall action until it concludes. Enough research and inquiries have been performed, and the question is settled: open-net salmon farms cannot exist in the same waters as wild salmon. There is now no time to lose to protect this precious part of our national heritage. The clock is ticking. We look forward to your prompt and deliberate action on this file.
Highlights from the "Farmed Salmon Exposed" Screening
On Nov 12 the Wild Salmon Circle hosted a screening of filmmaker and Circle member Damien Gillis' new 23 min documentary, "Farmed Salmon Exposed: The Global Reach of the Norwegian Salmon Farming Industry." The film, which will be available online in its entirety next week, takes a hard look at the myriad environmental, socio-economic, and cultural impacts from open-net salmon farming in the various countries where it operates – including Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Chile, and Canada.
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Following the film, the audience of 120 took part in a lively discussion with guest panelists Rafe Mair, Dr. Larry Dill of SFU, Hereditary Chief Robert Joseph, and Chilean-Canadian biologist PabloTrujillo from the UBC Fisheries Centre. The event, at SFU's Segal Centre in Vancouver, was one of a dozen premieres of the film around the world during the Pure Salmon Campaign's annual Global Week of Action on Farmed Salmon – featuring film screenings and actions in a diverse range of communities such as Dublin, Edinburgh, Oslo, Washington, D.C., and Santiago, Chile. The film was also featured on December 10 in Copenhagen at the GoodPlanet Foundation's film festival coinciding with the climate talks. Many more screenings in BC and around the world are being scheduled for the New Year in the wake of strong public and media reaction to the film, whose trailer has had some 30,000 hits on youtube so far.
The Wild Salmon Circle's successful screening yielded passionate pleas from audience members to work together to save wild salmon, as well as some important revelations from experts like Otto Langer, Chief Bob Chamberlin, and Dr. Larry Dill, about the upcoming Fraser Sockeye Judicial Inquiry, DFO's plans to DOUBLE SALMON AQUACULTURE in the coming years, and the historic opportunity and need for public action on salmon farming.
The evening concluded with many in the audience writing letters to their member of parliament, expressing their concerns with salmon farms and demanding immediate political action to save wild salmon.
Watch the 5 minute highlight video from the evening, and stay tuned to www.wildsalmoncircle.com for a link to the full film "Farmed Salmon Exposed" in the coming days.
Have Your Organization Sign the Wild Salmon Narrows Declaration
Following up on the tremendous support from concerned citizens like you, the Georgia Strait Alliance has made a call out for organizations to sign onto a declaration calling for the removal of open net-cage salmon farms from the Wild Salmon Narrows. It’s easy for groups to show support! Simply send an email to Michelle Young at GSA to sign on. Visit the Georgia Strait Alliance for more info and to get in touch with Michelle.