I am a former commercial fishing reporter from Vancouver, BC. I have long been concerned about the devastating effects of the fish farm sites on the west coast wild salmon stocks. It sickens me that sickly, unnatural farmed salmon and big business interests come before our magnificent wild salmon stocks and pristine coastal waters. Why does Canada have to repeat and compound the errors made around the world, when it comes to the deadly, polluting effects of farmed salmon? Why can't we be leaders in this area? Why can't Canadians have as vibrant a wild salmon fishery as the Alaskans do? The Americans are so far ahead of us when it comes to the management of their northern-water salmon stocks. It is embarrassing and disheartening. It is also a robbery for future generations of Canadians.
I live in Nova Scotia now - a province where most of the public has forgotten they ever had a wild Atlantic fishery and population. Farmed fish is the norm, and this is so wrong, so sad. People here still grieve the loss of the cod, but the salmon are like a foggy dream. The fishermen don't forget anything, though. They don't forget how they tried to warn DFO about the decline of the cod, and they don't forget how the scientists were muzzled and dismissed. And they don't forget the once-teeming Atlantic salmon stocks, overfished and mismanaged to near extinction.
I love the Maritimes but I will always be a BC woman at heart. I know the First Nations of BC and all other BC residents will fight for wild salmon with every bit of strength and determination they possess. I am fighting too, even from this great distance. Sockeye, pink, chinook, chum, coho - don't let these beautiful, unique stocks die out. Put wild stocks first! Be bold and brave and make Canada the first to do this.
It is the right and only thing to do.
Marjorie Simmins, Journalist and Writer