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May 31 2010

To NDP with reply from Mr. Rob Fleming, MLA Environment Critic

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Sent: May-19-10 9:41 PM
To: James.MLA, Carole
Subject: Lumby salmon trails and government signs

Dear Ms.James,
Some time ago I sent you an e-mail about the the disappeared wild salmon that caused hunger to some First Nations people last winter. I did manage to collect a small donation of canned salmon to help while they got some beef for their people. I would like you to know that my husband and I made a submission to the Cohen Commission and it’s published on their website.

I have recently become aware that Interior Fraser Coho are listed “endangered” on the Lumby Salmon Trails signs. Although I don’t have any official documentation, the word about town is that only 7 salmon returned to spawn here last fall. We are the eastern most point for salmon migration in the Fraser River Watershed.

The Lumby Salmon Trail signs list BC Government Agencies and DFO as sponsors. One sign said “…open net fish farms pose life threatening challenges to wild salmon…” Those signs indicate an awareness by DFO and Provincial agencies that fish farms threaten the survival of wild salmon.

I sent the following information to Minister Penner and Eric Foster who used to be Lumby’s Mayor. I hope you too, will check out the links to see Government salmon signs and the video we made in support of Alexandra Morton on my blog.

Last month I drove from Lumby to Revelstoke and every river had a salmon sign asking the reader to “protect our heritage”. “Heritage” implies something intended to be passed on to future generations. One might think that putting information on signs means that the message is important or that it’s Government policy. So, I am asking you to ask all our Government members to adhere to those signs. Please explain to the legislature about the salmon signs and encourage rescinding Fish Farm Licenses to protect our wild salmon heritage from facing any further life threatening “challenges” by open net pen fish farms.

You can view all the Lumby Salmon Trails signs at
http://gordonjudd.ca/lst

you can view my blog including the video we made of the Lumby salmon trail walk.
http://priscillajudd.ca/theXpress

I have recently become aware of closed container fish farms that operate in BC and Washington State. Please move Fish Farms out of the BC wild salmon ocean water and into closed containment – it can be done – BC can lead the world in farming fish without polluting the ocean.

Thank you very much
Priscilla Judd

REPLY

RE: Lumby salmon trails and government signs      Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 10:55:48 -0700
From: Fleming.MLA, Rob Add to Contacts

Dear Ms. Judd:

Thank you for writing us in regards to salmon farm aquaculture on the coast of British Columbia.  New Democrats believe that the sustainability of healthy wild salmon stocks and a clean marine environment for all aquatic species is of paramount importance to our province.

This is an issue our caucus has been concerned about and working on for a number of years. In 2006, New Democrat MLA’s chaired a bi-partisan Special Legislative Committee for Sustainable Aquaculture which delivered more than 50 recommendations to the B.C. Liberal government, including a recommendation to move to ocean-based closed-containment salmon farming by 2011.The government has made almost no progress implementing any aspect of the report.

Today, there is a real and growing concern among the commercial and sport fishing sectors that fish stocks in BC are in serious trouble and that both the Federal and Provincial governments are not managing this resource properly.  There are many challenges to the survival of B.C.’s iconic wild salmon stocks including climate change and water temperature rise, habitat destruction of spawning grounds on river systems from road building and development of the mining and run-of-river power generation, and the proliferation and poorly located fish farms along salmon migration routes.  Many of the threats to wild salmon have been enabled by weakened environmental legislation by both levels of government.

This past summer, some 9 million sockeye expected to return to the Fraser River were missing from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) official count. In response to mounting political pressure, the Federal government appointed Justice Bruce Cohen to lead a judicial inquiry into the Fraser sockeye collapse. We welcome this inquiry and its stated desire “respecting conservation of the sockeye salmon and encouraging broad cooperation among stakeholders.”  We are pleased that Justice Cohen has prohibited the expansion of fin fish aquaculture activity while the Judicial Inquiry conducts its work.

The BC New Democrat caucus have asked Justice Bruce Cohen to look at the need for overall land and water use planning to lessen industry impacts on wild stocks. We are asking that his recommendations address the need for government to adequately assess risk to salmon populations and provide enforceable regulations for industries such as mining, energy, forestry and agriculture. To help reduce further risk to the survival of collapsed wild sockeye runs, New Democrats have supported calls for fallowing atlantic salmon farms along migratory routes during spring migration.

The environmental consequences of continuing status quo open-net fish farming are too serious to be ignored. Government needs to help the industry transition to closed containment salmon farming to protect our wild salmon stocks and to prevent the spread of parasites and disease in farmed salmon and contamination of wild fish. Reports of drug resistant sea lice and the collapse of 70% of Chilean fish farm production from deadly salmon anemia is further evidence of the prudence of B.C. leading the change to the best, most sustainable industry practice.
The demise of Chile’s industry has created global supply problems of salmon and a corresponding spike in price that may profits for BC salmon farmers. That is why before the 2010-11 provincial budget was tabled, New Democrat MLA’s reiterated our call for the Province to work with industry help fund planning and research to move the open-net fin fish aquaculture industry to closed containment technology. Helping the industry to retool will create needed green jobs and more certainty for coastal communities with this kind of aquaculture.

It is a shame that the B.C. Liberal government has failed to provide any vision for the future of this industry and failed to give incentives to companies to be world leaders in sustainability. The long-term consequences of this failure to plan ahead will cost our economy jobs and damage the environment.
Thank you again for writing. I urge to join with groups and support their efforts to bring much needed attention to this issue. Only through persistent pressure from citizens like you can we hope to move the BC Liberals in the right direction and save our wild salmon before it is too late.
For more information on what New Democrats have been doing to help save wild salmon visit: http://bcndpcaucus.ca/en/search/node/salmon and http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/8-9.htm

Best regards
Rob Fleming, MLA
Opposition Environment Critic

The above links are very interesting search tools – Thanks for the resource.

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