November 26, 2002 - First Nations on Vancouver Island have found strong support in their fight to protect wild fish against the dangers of fish farms. The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council PFRCC issued an advisory to Canada's and British Columbia's Fisheries Ministers raising concerns over the potential impact of salmon aquaculture and sea lice. The advisory includes a warning that there were dramatic decreases in the numbers of spawning pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago. The PFRCC recommends that Canada and BC undertake urgent actions to maximize the chance of safe passage of fish through the Broughton Archipelago during April 2003. There is evidence that the Broughton pink juveniles were infested with sea lice, a condition essentially unreported for juvenile pink salmon in the natural environment elsewhere. European research indicates that sea lice abundance can be associated with salmon farming. Recommended action includes - Fallowing of all salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago -temporary removal of salmon from the sea pens, and the implementation of rigorous sea lice control measures on the salmon farms that are geared to protecting wild fish.
September 13, 2002 Moratorium Lifted Fish Farms to Expand in British Columbia First Nations Fear for Wild Stocks Click Here for Details
July 22, 2002 - Despite arrests during a demonstration at the BC Legislature, First Nations and environmentalists promise to protest more and more to prevent expansion of fish farms. Protestors dumped 200 pounds of dead salmon in front of the legislature in Victoria, BC urging the provincial government to maintain a moratorium on new salmon farms. Namgis, Kwi-kwa-aut-enox, Ts-wa-da-nuq, Songhees and Heiltsuk First Nations gathered with members of the Forest Action Network. Two activists were arrested.
"Are you sure of your stats?" asks Chief Bill Cranmer, Chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council in response to the BCSFA's claim to producing ?"approximately 3,400 direct and indirect jobs in 2000". Chief Cranmer notes that a recent report from Scotland (who are several years ahead of us in fish farming) revealed that with over 400 fishfarms have only 1,304 jobs. This is compared to BC's 121 farms.
The Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council is comprised of the Tsawataineuk (Kingcome Inlet) First Nation; Kwicksutaineuk-ah-kwa-ah-mish Tribes Gilford Island and Wakeman Sound); along with the 'Namgis First Nation (Alert Bay). Bill Cranmer is the elected Chief of the 'Namgis First Nation and the Chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council whose members live in the Broughton where 26 fishfarms are located.
"This puts in doubt the projections from the BC Salmon Farmers Association which claims 3,400 direct and indirect jobs in 2000 for those 121 fishfarms! The BC Salmon Farmers' Association employment numbers are highly questionable to say the least." states Chief Cranmer.
Further stats from Scotland cause the BC First Nation Chiefs even more concern:
Escapes of farmed salmon more than quadrupled between 1998 and 2000 (440,000 in 2000 compared to 95,000 in 1998); In BC, the BCSFA estimates a 1% of annual production escapement which totals 108,600 per year. With only ¼ of the amount of fishfarms that Scotland has, the statistics are running very close, "We are definitely following in the footsteps of the devastated Scotland, and the Chiefs fear that the escape rate is much higher." announced Chief Cranmer. Further fears are that if the BC Salmon Farmers Association has their way, they will secure more than 600 fishfarms on the BC Coast. "Would that then mean that we would conservatively estimate the we will have approximately 650,000 escaped Atlantic Salmon a year?" asks Chief Cranmer.
The estimated quantity of waste discharged from Scottish fishfarms in 2000 was equivalent to almost twice the annual sewage discharged by the entire population of Scotland. In North Vancouver Island, the waste discharged is the equivalent of 93,000 - 214,000 people (Netloss October 1996) which is already more than twice the population of north Vancouver Island.
Recently, the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council called a state of emergency with the recent unprecedented out break of sea-lice in the Broughton Archipelago. It was with great dismay to learn that DFO did not send their test boats out to the area until more than a month after they received the first reports of this infestation. The vessel performed their test fisheries in areas that: were not of concern; several weeks too late; and with nets that were not designed to capture fry. Further dismay arose when the Chiefs were informed that the BC Salmon Farmers' Association obtained a preliminary report before the salmon samples even arrived at the testing station! When is this going to stop?" asks Chief Cranmer; "When will DFO take their responsibility to protect the wild stocks seriously?"
"Fishfarms were placed in our precious territories despite our vehement objections, in fact, 25 of the 26 fishfarms in the Broughton Archipelago are sited in environmentally sensitive areas, according to the provincial governments own siting criteria!"
"There is not enough scientific evidence that shows the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk people that fishfarms are safe for our territories. We have feared the escapes and were told it would not happen; we feared disease outbreak and we were told that it would not happen; we feared Atlantic spawning in the wild and again, we were told that it would not happen. It is heart breaking to acknowledge that all of these scientific guarantees failed and we do have a tremendous amount of escapes; we do have disease outbreaks, Atlantic salmon spawning in the wild is now a fact."
"Many river systems in Scotland are now dead of wild salmon and many, many more have alarming decreases in wild salmon returns. Extinction of the wild stocks is only a matter of time. As in Canada, the government of Scotland continues to deny any problems with fishfarms with high hopes that the fishfarm "problems" will fix themselves and go away." says Chief Cranmer
Chief Cranmer said, "We urge the provincial government to maintain the moratorium on fishfarm expansion until a full environmental assessment as was called for by the federal Auditor General has determined that fishfarms are environmentally safe. This will ensure that the wild stocks; the environment; and the entire coast will still be here for all the children of British Columbia?.and their children yet to come. "
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Contact: Chief Bill Cranmer
Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council