Mar 22 2010

BC's backcountry needs your support

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You may not be aware that BC’s wilderness could become a wasteland before the next generation has a chance to experience the marvels of a canoe trip or skiing a forest slope.

BC salmon are facing extinction and fish farms are not helping. Chile has done something about it but both levels of Canada’s government deny it.

Some people are valiantly trying to raise awareness of the facts. Alexandra Morton has linked the premature death of millions of wild salmon smolts to coastline pollution by fish farms that release fish excrement and sea lice into wild salmon habitat.

The sea lice from Esperanza are spewing out of this pipe

The sea lice from Esperanza are spewing out of this pipe

Wild salmon are already extinct in many of our rivers. Without wild salmon, trees at the rivers edge starve and die. Without trees the soil erodes and washes out to sea. Without salmon the bears and eagles starve. Without salmon, the Siska people face starvation and it’s not the first time. Previous government policy supported canneries to make obscene profits by harvesting as much fish as possible, including that which was traditionally eaten by First Nations. Now government policy helps fish farms to make greater and greater profit at the expense of salmon habitat. Sockeye salmon no longer run past Hell’s gate in the Fraser River – starvation has once again been forced on Canada’s native people.

To understand our history in the decimation of the world’s largest salmon run, I’m reading Geoff Meggs book “Salmon” Decline of the Fishing Industry in BC. It is easy to recognize apartheid as it was historically practised by our Federal and Provincial Governments. Canada could easily wish to forget about this as we have much to atone for.

I hope you will lend your name to the plight of wild salmon, if not for the Native people, perhaps for the next generation of trees, for the bears and eagles, the badgers and fishers.

I believe we can put this matter before the public in a timely way to unite our entire country in a strong voice for clean water. After all, who in Canada wants dirty water? Before the last fish is forever gone, before government lets our salmon go the way of the cod. Before the Cohen Inquiry is over, a public plea for clean water might lead to salmon spawning in our barren rivers and creeks. We cannot force nature to provide us what we need – we can only help her along. The BC wilderness relies on spawning salmon to give their flesh for life that maintains our planet – surely that is worth more to Canadians than the economy of corporate farming.

How can we show our support for Ms.Morton’s fish migration? Post your ideas or send me an e-mail

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