November 8, 2009
It’s already been over a month since the massive rally for wild salmon took place at the Vancouver Art Gallery on October 3, but what a month it has been! As you’ll see below, a lot has happened since and there is even more coming up with the global week of action next week.
Massive Rally Put Wild Salmon in the Spotlight
On October 3rd, over 700 concerned citizens gathered to support wild salmon, and draw attention to the impacts salmon farms are having on them. We sent a strong message to the federal government with cell phone text messages after hearing from a powerful list of speakers – biologists Alexandra Morton and Dr. Larry Dill, First Nations leaders Chief Bob Chamberlin and Hereditary Chief Robert Joseph, and representatives from the commercial fishing and wilderness tourism industries. The rally was a huge success, and garnered attention from major media, including CBC, CTV, Global, and CKNW. Check out some of the great links below for photos, video, and media coverage!
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Citizen Voices Spur Judicial Inquiry of Sockeye Collapse
Because of the continued pressure from citizens via the rally and the many great groups working to save our wild salmon, Ottawa has finally taken notice! The WSC has heard from many local MPs on the issue. Just days after the rally, the crash of Fraser River sockeye was brought up more than once in the House of Commons, and two weeks ago NDP MP Peter Julian and NDP by-election candidate Fin Donnelly added their voices to Conservative MP John Cummins' long-standing call for a judicial inquiry into the DFO's handling of the Fraser River fishery. Prime Minister Stephen Harper apparently heard this loud and clear. He announced a judicial inquiry will be held, with promising terms of reference that include salmon farms.
[The judicial inquiry will] investigate and make independent findings of fact regarding the causes for the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon including, but not limited to, the impact of environmental changes along the Fraser River, marine environmental conditions, aquaculture, predators, diseases, water temperature and other factors that may have affected the ability of sockeye salmon to reach traditional spawning grounds or reach the ocean.
This is a major success which can help ensure that in the long term, management of wild salmon and aquaculture is based on sound science instead of politics. If a Judicial Inquiry was held in the eighties regarding Atlantic cod, the catastrophic collapse of that species might have been avoided. This was possible because of the efforts and continued pressure from citizens like you. Thank you.
Now is the time to keep up the pressure. Other immediate changes are still needed, as two generations of out-migrating juvenile salmon will still have to pass the gauntlet of fish farms along our coast before the recommendations of this inquiry are due in May 2011. With the tremendous weight of scientific evidence against open-net fish farms, and under the precautionary principle of which Canada is legally bound, the fish farming industry still needs to begin a rapid transition to closed-containment, and as a minimum, remove all open-net farms from migration routes. Canadians also need assurance that the recommendations from the judicial inquiry will be implemented, and in a timely fashion. Contact your member of parliament to ask for such assurance, as well as for immediate measures to protect our wild salmon.
Read about the judicial inquiry in this news story.
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Come to Our Film Screening! Write Your MP! Up the Pressure during the Global Week of Action
This coming week, November 9 – 14th, marks the Global Week of Action! Join citizens and groups from around the world to draw attention to the destructive impacts that open-net fish farms have on wild fish and the ecosystems and communities they support.
Farmed Salmon Exposed Premiere
In Vancouver, join the Wild Salmon Circle on November 12 from 7-9 PM at the SFU Segal Centre for the premiere of a new short documentary by filmmaker Damien Gillis. Watch the trailer below:
Farmed Salmon Exposed shows how the British Columbia experience of salmon farming fits into a global pattern of catastrophe wrought by a predominantly Norwegian-owned industry. The film will be followed up with a question and answer period featuring a panel of experts including:
- Former BC Environment Minister Rafe Mair
- Hereditary Chief Robert Joseph of the Broughton Archipelago Territory
- Chilean-Canadian biologist Pablo Trujillo from UBC's Fisheries Centre
- SFU salmon researcher and behavioural ecologist Dr. Larry Dill
For full details visit www.wildsalmoncircle.com.
Write to Your MP
Lots of other actions are taking place as well! You can help turn the tide for salmon by writing a letter to your MP. Find your member of parliament by clicking here and send a letter to their office at the House of Commons – no postage necessary!
We've written a sample letter you can modify for yourself, or feel free to write your own. Remember, even a short typed message goes a long way, but hand written letters have the biggest impact!
One of our nation's most urgent problems is the disappearance of our Fraser River Sockeye. Diminished sockeye runs appear to be part of a larger issue, which is the DFO's continued inability to protect wild fish and, in particular, BC's wild salmon. This is of grave concern to all Canadians.
It is hugely discouraging to me as a citizen that while there is ample peer-reviewed evidence from Canadian and international researchers that open net salmon aquaculture is detrimental to wild stock, the DFO continues to encourage the practice; DFO Minister Shea’s recent visit to Norway to promote more fish farms in Canada is a prime example.
I am pleased that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has recently called for a Judicial Inquiry into the Fraser River’s sockeye crash. Unfortunately, the Judicial Inquiry’s report to government could be as late as May 2011. And implementation may be as far away as 2016.
Our salmon cannot wait that long. It is crucial that we take immediate actions to preserve this vital resource by invoking the Precautionary Principle. We must follow the recommendations of BC Legislature's 2007 Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture which called for "a rapid, phased transition to ocean-based closed containment". Fallowing of existing salmon farms and a moratorium on new open net salmon farms must be implemented immediately. The risks to wild fish posed by disease outbreaks (ISA, IHN, and others) and sea-lice are simply too great.
I look forward to hearing from you about how you plan to keep Pacific salmon from going the way of Atlantic cod.
Daily Actions from CAAR
The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is taking the lead, with an easy action you can take each day during the Global week of Action. Sign up here to receive an action each day and send a strong message for wild salmon!
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