In November 2005, Gordon Campbell was taking so much heat from British Columbians on salmon feedlots that he bought himself time by forming the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture and populating it with NDP MLAs. He threw them into the arena and let them take the heat for a few years.
Shane Simpson, Claire Trevena, Scott Fraser, Robin Austin, Gregor Robertson and others spent 18 months, in 43 days of meetings in 21 communities listening to 275 people testify, reading 814 written submissions and calling 80 expert witnesses including myself. Their terms of reference included:
1. The economic and environmental impacts of the aquaculture industry in BC
2. The economic impact of aquaculture on BC’s coastal and isolated communities.
3. Sustainable options for aquaculture in BC that balance economic goals with environmental imperatives, focusing on the interaction between aquaculture, wild fish and the marine environment.
A rapid, phased transition to ocean-based closed containment begin immediately. Within three years ocean-based closed containment must be developed. Once developed, industry must transition to this technology within the subsequent two years.
In the transition to ocean-based closed containment, all salmon farms should be stocked in a way
that prevents conflict with the migratory patterns of vulnerable wild stocks.
Particular attention must be paid to safeguarding the migration of smolts in the Kingcome/Wakeman route
Reporting can no longer rely on industry policing itself. The government as the regulator, must conduct random checks without notice to any fish farm
If these recommendations, paid for by the people of BC and written by the people whom British Columbians voted into office, had been followed the last open net salmon feedlot would have gotten out of the ocean last year.
By the sounds of their new policy, the NDP are ignoring their own recommendations. Why was this report thrown out? Why do we bother testifying and submitting to these committees & wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars? And this was before the European viruses and Salmon Leukemia virus from salmon farms came to light.
Now NDP are saying they will wait until 2017 for Millers report. The fish can’t wait- these viruses are spreading fast. Action needs to be taken now to prevent widespread infection of our wild salmon
The NDP could very well come into power and make all the changes they recommended, even back-date them to remove the industry in immediately, we are not hearing a squeak about this expensive well-researched plan that we paid for.
The Cohen Commission mandate was only Fraser sockeye. It does not refer to the hundreds of other runs & species of BC salmon. They were addressed in the Recommendations of the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture.
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