Submitter: ron wilton
Date Submitted: June 19, 2010
Contrary to an earlier unwritten agreement, Norwegian fish farms are proliferating in areas where wild salmon migrate in high concentrations. The jobs created by fish farms are insignificant compared to the economic and social costs of the decline of wild stocks. There should be a five year suspension in fish farming , followed by a review to determine if wild stocks are recovering.
When the corporate fish farmers from Norway first came to B.C. some fifteen years ago, they held meetings with biologists, native groups, fishers, locals and other interested parties to find out which areas on the coast were most used by wild salmon in their migration to and from B.C. rivers. We were cooperative and determined areas of high , medium and low concentration. Due to this concern for wild stocks we should have realized there may be good reason to keep the two entities as far apart as possible. The zones were identified as "red" for areas of greatest concern, and I believe the other areas had cooler designations such as 'blue' and 'white'. It was assumed in good faith that the farms would not be established in the "red" zones. This has not proved to be the case. The farms are proliferating in the "red" zones and hardly present in the other less significant zones. It is my belief whenever a concerned biologist questioned or crticized this practice, they were summarily dismissed and ridiculed. I believe the corporate farms inveigled the authorities to allow them to ultimately destroy the wild stocks by waving the carrot of jobs, jobs and more jobs in front of politicians and without wild salmon spawning in the rivers, then these too could be exploited for industrial purposes. The jobs created by the corporate fish farms is insignificant in comparison to the jobs and livliehoods being lost by commercial and sports fishermen. The social costs vis-a-vis the native poulation and tourism would also exceed any benefit derived from fish farms in their present locations. I believe there should be a suspension of fish farming in its present form for a five year period and see if the wild stocks recover, or show signs of recovering. If not we have lost a great responsibilty given us from past generations and entrusted to us to pass on to future generations. We owe the salmon and our children this moment and I for one do not want to go down in history as one of the generation who stood by and watched this epic natural event die for no good reason other than corporate greed and short sighted political opportunism.