The Canadian Press reports, “A noisy and colourful crowd of protesters braved a downpour Friday (March 1) to demand an end to open-water salmon feedlots, what they call a ‘menace’ to B.C. coastal waters. Marching from the edge of the Downtown Eastside to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office on Burrard St., the chanting crowd was an all-ages mix of Idle No More protesters, First Nations groups, fisheries activists, and curious bystanders.” Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal was also present to support the march.
The rally featured Carrielynn Victor, Musqueam Elders – Victor Guerin and Christy Charles, Cease Wyss, Janice Billy, Shawna Green, Eddie Gardner, Nitanis Desjarlais, Dawn Morrison, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Kalilah Rampanen, UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chief Bob Chamberlin, and others.
The news article notes, “Findings of the Cohen Commission back up concerns over open-water farms. The October 2012 report investigated the decline of Fraser River sockeye and offered warnings if the industrial open-water farm industry continues. ‘As long as DFO has a mandate to promote salmon farming, there is a risk that it will act in a manner that favours the interests of the salmon farming industry over the health of wild fish stocks,’ Commissioner Bruce Cohen said.”
In November 2011, Postmedia News reported, “Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada’s West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News. …The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.”
In June 2010, CBC reported, “Fin Donnelly, the federal New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans critic, introduced a private member’s bill in May that would force fish farm operators to move from open nets along the B.C. coast to closed-containment systems. (Actor William) Shatner joined Donnelly on a conference call at the news conference and urged Canadians to prevent their precious resources from being destroyed. …’My opinion is that anybody who’s trying to do something about as basic a species as salmon must be listened to,’ he said of Donnelly’s bill.”
According to the Facebook event page for the protest, “Over 90% of B.C.’s nearly 150 salmon farm licenses are owned by three Norwegian multinationals: Marine Harvest, Cermaq (Mainstream in Canada) and Grieg. For years British Columbians have tried to persuade this Norwegian industry to respect our Wild Fish, even offering to fund their transition to closed tanks, but they just keep expanding.”
Photo: Photo by Harjap Grewal.