Submission 0187-FALL

Submitter: Michael Fall

Community: Ladysmith

Date Submitted: September 15, 2023

Human development and economic activity, including fish farming, has destroyed salmon breeding grounds and fouled salmon migration corridors. The commission should recommend that DFO apply environmental laws equally to individuals and industries and that DFO be required to make management and enforcement decisions based on science rather than politics.

Dear Sir:
Wild salmon are the very life blood of the West coast of Canada. They can be finicky, they can be fickle but most of all, they can be easily destroyed and lost forever. In the 1950’s, as a young boy, I fished salmon with my aging and partially crippled father in the Cowichan Bay area. During that era the salmon runs were vibrant and healthy but we never over harvested, taking home just enough to eat fresh (before the days of freezers) and a few for mother to can for the winter & spring. What a different picture it is today. There are many ‘culprits’ that have caused the massive decline in salmon numbers; over fishing (commercial and sport), poor logging practices, high elevation logging, poor land use practices, poor water management just to name a few. My point is; how many ‘hits’ can the salmon take? We (humans, mostly British Columbians) have decimated their numbers, we have destroyed much of their breeding ground (and juvenile habitat) and now we are fouling their migration corridors with sewage (farm salmon poop), rotting waste feed and a toxic soup of parasites and introduced diseases. We look upon DFO, as their primary mandate, to protect the resource from all factors that can damage or harm it in any way; we do not expect DFO to aid in its demise by supporting the open net salmon farm industry. If I, as an individual, had a business anywhere on the waterfront that poured the volume and composition of deleterious materials into the ocean that a single open net salmon farm does (24/7) I would be charged with an offence under the fisheries act, taken to court and severely fined and forced to clean up the mess. If, after that, I continued to foul the ocean, I would probably end up in jail (and so I dammed well should!). The BC government has allowed the open net salmon farming industry to ‘get away’ with these crimes and in December 2010 THAT MUST STOP! There must be no distinction between individuals, other industries and open net salmon farms. Fouling the ocean is a crime no matter how one looks at it or who does it.

I realize your commission is concentrating on the Fraser River Sockeye but there are other salmon species and other ‘runs’ in a similar situation that also deserve your consideration. Regarding the threat the open net salmon farm industry poses to all wild salmon but especially Sockeye I would like to make two suggestions that, if implemented, I feel would be a step in the right direction towards protecting this precious treasure we have on our west coast.

1. Require the DFO to apply all the laws designed to protect our ocean and its inhabitants equally to individuals and industries.
2. Require the DFO to make management and enforcement decisions based on science and the laws, NOT politics.

Michael H Fall
Ladysmith, British Columbia

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