Submitter: Russell Stirrett
Date Submitted: June 15, 2010
The causes of the decline of Fraser River sockeye are no doubt varied, any may include open net aquaculture, pollution and environmental changes. While there is very little that can be done in the short term regarding pollution or environmental changes, the aquaculture business could reduce some pressure on wild salmon stocks by changing to closed containment salmon farms.
First I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for accepting submissions from the public. It is my hope that you will take these submissions seriously when it comes time to submit your findings.
I am not anyone special and I do not fish anymore but I am very concerned about the state of our salmon stocks. This once abundant resource is slipping away from us and the causes are no doubt varied. It is my belief, after seeing various reports, that aquaculture of atlantic salmon in open net pens is, at the very least, one of those causes. The assault by sea lice on the young salmon as they head out into the open ocean is a crime. Yes they have always faced sea lice in the past but the massive increase in the number of sea lice, due to open net pens of atalantic salmon, on or near these migration routes is taking it's toll on the numbers of sockeye and other species who actually make it to the open ocean. Throw in environmental changes and pollution and we end up with next to no return to the rivers. There is very little we can do in the short term regarding pollution or environmental changes. We could, however, take some pressure off our wild salmon stocks by recommending that the aquaculture business change to closed containment of their salmon farms. It is never a good idea to take a species from their native habitat and move them into another species' habitat anyway. We really need to be forward thinking here and do everything we can to protect these young salmon from sea lice, drug resistant diseases and ending up a by-catch in these companies pens.
Please, we need to save the salmon from the fate that befell the atlantic cod and the buffalo. Salmon for the First Nations in this part of the world is what the buffalo were to the First Nations of the plains.
I thank you for your time and consideration of my submission.