Submission 0285-MELLORS

Submitter: James Mellors

Community: Vernon

Date Submitted: October 15, 2023

The commission’s recommendations, which will influence the future of wild salmon stocks, should be made binding on all parties. Other species and runs of salmon are likely being affected by the same factors as sockeye, and the commission should make secondary recommendations to address these species. Fraser sockeye runs were generally sustainable until fish farms were placed directly on their migratory routes. Reports indicate that fish farms transmit the IHN virus and sea lice to migrating wild salmon. It is concerning that aquaculture companies, many of which are foreign-owned, refuse to provide records of viral outbreaks. The aquaculture industry should adopt closed-containment technologies.

Submission to Justice Cohen Commission

My name is James Mellors I live in Vernon B.C. and I am concerned about the management of the Salmon Fisheries. The Sockeye is but one species of Salmon that is threatened by the environment and commercial abuse. I have read several submissions on the Commissions web site and have come to the realization that money and politics are another contributing factor.

Your Commission report will probably be the most important and influential document in deciding whether we will have future wild Salmon stocks. This report and it recommendations will be referred to by industry, government, various organizations, and the general public for years to come. It is also hoped by myself that these recommendations are binding on all parties.

I realize that your terms of reference are to deal with the Fraser River Sockeye decline. It is difficult to single out the one species of Salmon without at least recognizing that other species and runs of Salmon are suffering from possibly the same situations while using the same migratory routes. I hope that this commission will look beyond the Fraser River Sockeye and make secondary recommendations.

I suspect that a historical review has been done and where there were declines in the Salmon stocks the focus was aimed in those areas, for example logging. Many studies have been done and in most cases the problems have been revealed and regulations and amendments to procedures have been instituted. Most stocks have rebounded, however, in some cases it was to late and runs no longer exist and are now dependent on hatcheries.

There were recommendations where to put these farms and where not to put them. A decision was made to locate them in the worst possible location so as to directly expose the wild Salmon to these farms. These locations were on the list of non-recommended sites.

Sockeye along with all other species of Salmon use a common route in their migration. Ten years ago the Salmon appeared to be doing reasonably well. The runs were generally sustaining themselves up until the decision to place Fish Farms directly on their migratory routes.

It has been stated that, “The Fraser sockeye decline began at the same time government failed to cull millions of IHN virus infected feedlot salmon on the Fraser River migration routes. Government ignored federal scientists who state infected Atlantic salmon should not be permitted in pens (Traxler et al 1993). The federal government also ignored warnings from their scientists that would have saved the North Atlantic cod”.

I have seen graphs that show drastic drops of Salmon in specific years which just so happen to be the years where the number of new and existing Fish Farms have increased . These farms contain upwards of 1 million foreign fish each. These also show the explosion of Sea Lice infestation on these routes only when the Salmon are passing them. Even with the statistics staring them in the face, Politicians, government bureaucrats, and industries refuse to acknowledge them and continue to blame other factors. I hope these graphs will become evidence in this inquiry.

I understand that some of the fish farms have told the regulating bodies (government) that they will no longer provide records of viral outbreaks at their operations. I also understand it took 6 years to get the first record of disease outbreak.

I am concerned that these fish farmers are dictating to the Government Agencies as to what they will provide, what they will not provide, and how they will operate.

For the sake of our grandchildren and future generations this insane and unnecessary destruction of a species for the sake of profit must stop. The technology is now available for industry and nature to carry on harmoniously we must immediately convert from open pen to closed containment fish farms. Evidence points to the closed containment systems being safer, less disease, better quality control,
quicker maturity.

There is a bill now sitting in the house of commons that would provide millions of dollars to fish farmers to upgrade their technology and convert to closed pen farms. It is included in the proposed budget for 2011.

Canada is my home and I am furious that past and present Governments both Provincial and Federal have seen fit to knowingly allow foreign industries that have a record of destroying the wild stocks in their own homeland, and other Countries, to do the same to Canada’s natural resource. These multimillion dollar companies are destroying our waterways, polluting the ocean floor beneath the farms, refusing to conform to the laws and regulations applied to their industry. What is even worse is that we are prostituting ourselves so that these companies can produce a foreign species at the cost of our natural species and the product of this insanity is hardly used in Canada. Over 90% of the Atlantic Salmon raised here in British Columbia is shipped out to the U.S.A. and Japan and possibly other countries. It appears that British Columbia has become a brothel for these Companies.

Respectfully submitted

Jim Mellors
Vernon. B.C.

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