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General News · 18th July 2009
carrie saxifrage
Did you know that Noba received only one comment from us against the Grieg Corporation fish farm rezone that she voted for?

She gives her reasons for voting in favour of the fish farm in the Regional Directors section under the "Special Sections" bar at the top of the page.

It's not a done deal.

How to get your comment heard
Noba can't receive our comments because the public hearing is closed. They can be emailed to Jeff Long, SRD staff person. His email is JLong at strathconard.ca
Go Fish
Comment by Dennis Mense on 22nd July 2009
How much science do we have to have before we can convince people to do the right thing.
Before the Provincial Government started promoting fish farms in the early 1980's , Norway and Scotland were already having their problems.

It seems this is about money, jobs and trying to give something to the industry in exchange for some future cooperation.....rather than the future of our wild stocks.

If we keep moving the goal posts.....the industry will never voluntarily move on to closed containment.

There will be new jobs in the closed containment sector, perhaps our own fishermen will get to fish more than a few days and new research will continue to bring the costs down.

Yes, there are more problems for our wild stocks than lice, but they could be the limiting factor for recovery. There does need to be a whole system approach, which both our Federal and Provincial governments and we as citizens are unwilling to undertake at the moment.

To see a short article on problems they are having in Scotland see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6721305.ece

We do have a say in one very important aspect right now....say no to Gunnar Point by writing to Jeff Long at SRD: jlong,,,strathconard.ca
I am dismayed
Comment by Alexandra Morton on 21st July 2009
In response to Noba Anderson's "My Fish Farm Vote." I have no doubt that Noba is deeply concerned for this coast and for her community but she writes:

"We are aware of the risk. Closed containment technology may never be developed .... The results of that could be very harmful, especially given the site location in the funnel of Johnston Strait. However, if this works, ...."

This is chilling No one should gamble with the all the wild salmon that run through Johnston Strait. Since Gunner Pt is not well-suited for closed containment and the Norwegian fish farmers are not interested in closed tanks this is a gamble with terrible odds.

I was really dismayed to read that Noba faced this decision with only 1 letter from Cortes! No level of government can stand up to fish farmers without massive public response. It is up to you. Do you want wild salmon or not.
Keep writing !
Comment by norberto on 19th July 2009
Yes, let's keep writing to Jeff Long at the SRD about this.

With all due respect to Noba, but this is wrong !

If you want to read lots of information about the "Grieg consultation", check the SRD website at:
http://www.strathconard.ca

By the way, I don't remember any "community consultation" meetings about this here in Cortes.

I have read that Claire Trevena is joining forces with Alexandra Morton and Rafe Muir to keep this fight alive.



Shocked. Upset. Too bad.
Comment by barry saxifrage on 18th July 2009
When I tell Cortesians that our Regional Director cast a swing vote to approve a gigantic new fish farm, the universal response is shock and disbelief.

Often that is followed by a stated desire to contact our Regional Director and let her know how they feel about this unexpected vote on such a critical topic. When they find out that it is now against the law for them to express their views to our Regional Director the shock and disbelief is doubled.

The most confusing part of this is why our Regional Director did not actively seek consultation with the people she represents on this. She didn't even give us any warning that she might vote contrary what most people I know wanted and expected.

Our Regional Director says she spent 5 months meeting with people about this fish farm. Why were none of these meetings with Cortes citizens?

In the end she says a big part of her decision to vote for the massive new fish farm was based on the desires of a Quadra Island resident who was trying to protect the fish-farm jobs in his community.

Cortesians care deeply about the effects of fish farms on our remaining wild salmon. Last I looked wild salmon are not restricted to district of Jim Abrams. We have wild salmon, wild salmon jobs, wild salmon food fisheries and a deep love of wild salmon here too.

It is important that our elected representative actually seek consultation with the citizens they represent.

I strongly encourage people to contact the regional district with your concerns about not being fully represented in this important issue. Email JLong,,,strathconard.ca ... soon.

How to get your comment heard
Comment by Carrie Saxifrage on 17th July 2009
Noba can't receive our comments because the public hearing is closed. They can be emailed to Jeff Long, SRD staff person, at JLong,,,strathconard.ca
Fish Farms R Bad
Comment by Robert Carter on 17th July 2009
I learned all I need to know about fish farms at UVic. They're a bad idea unless contained and seperated from the wild. So much misinformation has propagated over the last 2.5 decades I don't even know where to begin. The argument for fish farms back then was that there was no definitive proof that they would be bad for the environment.
Well you'd have to be blind to ignore the negative impact of fish farming on our coast. Once again it's all about money taking precidence over common sense.
My Fish Farm Vote...
Comment by Ruby Berry on 17th July 2009
Georgia Strait Alliance is appalled that the Strathcona Regional District has approved zoning of a new fish farm at Gunner Point. We do not support in principle this decision, as suggested by Ms. Anderson in her article, and demand an immediate retraction of this statement. GSA continues to actively oppose open net farms, as they are located on the only juvenile salmon migration route exiting the northern Georgia Strait.
The conditions put on the zoning by the directors will not mitigate the damage to wild salmon and the marine environment that will occur from the addition of another fish farm. Refusal of zoning for open net pen salmon farms would be a much greater incentive for the industry to move to closed containment.
We hope that the SRD will see that their efforts will not result in significant change in industry practice and vote down this bylaw at fourth reading.
On Gunner Pt.
Comment by Philip Stone on 17th July 2009
From this edition of the Discovery Islander http://www.discoveryislander.ca/DI-452.pdf

Like many in our community I was very disappointed to hear the news of the Strathcona Regional District Directors’ decision on the Gunner Point fish farms and would like to share some observations on that.
The location of the proposed farm could hardly be more perfect to deal the death-blow to south coast wild salmon, at the ‘jugular’ of the Inside Passage. One has to admire the audacity of Greig Seafood as all pretence of the industry’s war on wild salmon comes so boldly out of the closet.
While I respect the intent of the RD’s conditions to strike a ‘balance’, I am sceptical that will come about in an era of million-dollar government gifts and sweetheart legislation like Bill 30. There may be good intentions behind the strategy Jim Abram and his RD colleagues have taken but personally I hold out little faith that a facility as large as that proposed for Gunner Point (already as large as three ‘normal’ farms) once operational would reinvest and retool in closed containment.
There are ample opportunities for job creation in our region in nonpolluting, environmentally benign and even remedial industries. These sectors will never get a chance to get off the ground if governments of all levels continue to acquiesce to the likes of Grieg, TimberWest, Plutonic and other corporations who are already so close to taking complete control of our public natural resources for their private profit.
And besides what of the health and safety of the workers? I find it hard to believe that fish processors would not be a lot better off working with healthy wild salmon rather than the pharmaceutical ridden product that comes out of a fish farm. To say nothing of jobs in other sectors threatened by the loss of wild salmon.
Ultimately, the reason our environment and wild salmon continue to endure this onslaught is because the government and complicit opposition provincially and federally are not serving the public’s or the environment’s best interest. It could be a while before we return to the polls but I urge one and all to think about that until then.
Philip Stone
Go Fish 2
Comment by Carrie Saxifrge on 17th July 2009
I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your decision and your sincere desire to support the troubled wild salmon runs.

I expect that it is difficult to sit through all those hearings and not feel that you have clear direction from your voters. I assumed you knew that a lot of us are adamantly opposed to fish farms, whether or not we made a comment on a specific farm. You can always ask!

I suspect that the Grieg Corporations is running circles around the good intentions of the Regional Directors in this instance.

I'm not comforted by the use of "commerically available." The fact that it is undefined will give the GC opportunity to bring its huge resources to its definition. I think the RD will be outgunned. It seems that closed containment systems are already commercially available by some definition. Smolt are raised in them. They can be fabricated. I seriously doubt they will become widely commercially available until we say, at all levels of government, "No More Open Net Pens." We'll be amazed at how fast these things can be made at that point. I expect that availability will remain two years away until then.

Another factor that troubles me is reliance on Jim Abrams' decision. He is no doubt a great Quadra Island RD, that is why he keeps getting reelected. But Quadra's interests aren't ours. Cortes has no direct economic stake in a GC fish farm (although we do in Toba ROR, which Abrams did not support). Jim's idea of balancing economy and environment is just a tired old way of whittling away at nature. The fulcrum of the "balance" keeps changing as wild systems get depleted. Either we want the wild salmon and understand it will take strong action to keep them or we want to trade a resiliant wild system for an expensive fragile managed one because it means more short term jobs (and less long term free food for us and other species).

I do agree with Jim that you can't please everyone. You have to choose. We voted for you. Quadra Island,Jim Abrams, Quadra GC employees didn't, can't, won't.

I don't understand the "lice free" condition. Does that mean heavier pesticide loads?

The fish farms corporations are devastating our wild runs. It serves their economic interest to have no wild salmon to compete with their lousy product. They will go on destroying our runs until they have absolutely no other choice. They will foot drag in every way possible. We must expect that they will continue to act in their own economic interest at the expense of our wild salmon and that they will not meet the RD's efforts toward good faith compromise. Their friendly faces have helped them kill salmon runs all over the world.

Don't let this farm go forward, Noba. The salmon need your leadership.

With respect,
Carrie
"bold attempts to right our course"
Comment by David Shipway on 17th July 2009
I appreciate that Noba has tried to explain the more obscure facts behind her highly-visible vote. But if she ends by saying the need is for "bold attempts to right our course" then why make that task even harder by giving license of occupation to more net pens in strategic remote locations, in the sort of places where closed containment is totally impractical?

This is the same course we've been on for years, no change in direction at all. The bold attempt SRD might have tried would have been to parry the thrust, to rezone more dead and vacant industrial areas close to town for on-grid road-access closed containment aquaculture, as a clear message to this industry of the last-minute course correction so desperately needed to ensure the survival of wild salmon.

The history of this freeloading industry is one that continues, by it's own cost-saving designs, to threaten wild salmon migrations. Obviously I don't know all the political
nuances, or hidden teamwork that led to Noba's decision, but it sure seems that what the SRD has done is boldly grant strategic gatekeeper privileges on Sunderland Channel that will inevitably pose even greater risks to wild salmon runs.

How will such a vote feel after the next big "oops!" in BC fishfarming?