General News · 1st December 2016
A few years back there were so many harbor seals at the "Cortes island shellfish growers co-operative" site in talbot cove (teakerne arm), that we growers considered it an emergency threat, that we may be shut down for fecal contamination. At any given time you could count 60 or more seals basking in rafts throughout the lease, who knows how many were in the water. The problem (in all likelihood there was none, but oyster farmers love to panic) resolved itself with the arrival of a small pod of transient killer whales. Over the course of a few months of coming and going they put the crunch on the seal population and proved the sanctuary of the oyster lease was no safe haven after all! I did a little research and read that an adult male
Orca can weigh as much as 30,000 pounds and eats 10 percent of its mass every day. 3,000 pound of seal meat! Let's say each whale eats a half dozen seals EVERY day! There were at least 4 adult whales in that pod. They must have eaten hundreds. Their underwater imaging abilities are so far advanced, if the seals are present, they will be eaten. No wonder they are "transient" the biomass needed to support this level of appetite is astounding. Now it seems evident to me, and any other oyster farmer you talk to that the vertical structure reef system, as I call it, hanging in the water column, helps support this web of life. I don't think its fair to chase the melanita Ducks around, but those animals seek refuge in the very artificial reef systems that our critics claim are causing so much harm. So not only do shellfish farms produce arguably the ONLY truly sustainable protein food production on this beautiful coat, but in fact they create wildlife sanctuaries, they help feed whales for crying out loud! Not only shouldwe tolerate shellfish farming, in fact we should promote, foster, and develop the industry. It is the appropriate use of this coast for food production, and bc could be a world leader in shellfish production. It diversifies our economy, creates jobs, and helps develop our food security, export economy, international reputation of bcs pristine coat, etc. As for all the garbage? Sadly many of the tough old timers who worked so hard in the industry, after marginally making a living sometimes for decades, had to walk away from the business in the end. Too hard to make a go in the long run, just mom and pop and a whole lot of risk and hard work, and You Turned Your Back on them. When we should have been developing hatcheries, we were building mansions, and when we should have started processing plants, we stood by while they shut down, and it got HARD to keep going, and some garbage got loose. I'm a 32 year old, and I support my small family with shellfish, and I'm proud of every clam and oyster I sell. Don't turn your back on me, and don't try and make this industry sound like anything other than what it is, the pearl. I say to ISF , drive the boats a little slower, and keep at it, we will save this coast yet. As for the noise in the gorge, I think the upland owners should be pleased that ISF has invested enough money into their harvest platform that it only takes them 2 days a week to get that work done, bravo! Mechanization means less time you see and hear the crew working. If you need a quiet place to retreat, I suggest you buy a small landlocked forested lot somewhere, and remember, we won't have to cut those trees down if we diversify our economy.
Photo:Animals thrive in oyster farms
Here is a picture of one of the many animals you find THRIVING in a typical oyster farm. The mighty ophaidon elongatus, top predator fish, apex awesome! Wasteland? Your wrong! SANCTUARY!!
Well put Eric
Comment by Adam on 25th December 2016
Food and clean water come first! Everything else is secondary. Keep farming Eric, don't be discouraged by a few naysayers. When an uncomfortable reality sets in, all will come with hands out for fresh food.
Gardens and farms, both sea and land, its the positive way forward. Adam.
Comment by Fred Morris on 10th December 2016
Eriks article is a very positive message, people must get along. To bad some people in the Gorge would like to see 55 FULL TIME JOBS eliminated for selfish reasons. If one group must follow the community plan then the rest must be forced to do it a well. There are not to many places that conform. Do we really want a bylaw officer on Cortes?
positively one sided...
Comment by North (Norrie) Wood on 3rd December 2016
I didn't want to post on this topic as I felt the earlier poster who responded to residents move away was over the top was enough sentiment but that comment gone, here are a few words.
If ISF does not have to conform to the Aqua Culture regulations or the Official Community Plan then what binds the rest of us to be good stewards of the region? Or obey the Community plan? The same community plan that protects and prevents the region residents and businesses from doing things that would/could effect ISF/AQ.
The position that those who live by the rules and regs move away in order for those not conforming to benefit seems completely unreasonable to my mind.
It would be far easier for ISF to conform to regulations and Cortes Community Plan than for long time owners to relocate and I am disappointed to see that position here on this island is taken somewhat seriously.
It is reasonable to ask ISF to conform in the hopes that this will not escalate.
ISF, Tuesday was quiet, thank you.
right on, eric!
Comment by ashe on 3rd December 2016