Submission 0198-BARTER

Submitter: Mark Barter

Community: Victoria

Date Submitted: September 16, 2023

A noticeable decline in wild salmon stocks occurred following the arrival of salmon farms on the B.C. coast. The refusal by salmon farms to report disease outbreaks and provide tissue samples is unacceptable. The commission should recommend that open net pen fish farms be completely eliminated under a strict timeline.

I worked as a commercial fisherman from 1972-74, then for Fisheries and Oceans between 1975-81, and now deep sea as Nav. Officer. The 70’s were certainly boom years for fishing, and there has been a gradual decline since then for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was overfishing (we used to grant permits for massive Japanese, Korean, and Russian trawlers to come in and rape our near coastal zones!) Despite all this, we allowed fish farms to start operating on our coast (I seem to recall in the 80’s), and at first I was all for them as an alternative to overfishing our wild stocks and to provide employment, dismissing the detractors as just typical hippie tree huggers with no real understanding of the situation. I did however notice a much steeper decline in salmon stocks around the same time the salmon farms started really proliferating, so I started doing a little independent research into them, and have been appalled at their actions worldwide which have led to massive disease outbreaks around many of their sites, decimating local wild stocks. Now they are acting as if they own their waterfront areas and are above our laws and not accountable to the Government or more importantly the citizens whom the Government represents (supposedly- though Harper seems to think the opposite often). Case in point is their recent refusal to report disease outbreaks and provide tissue samples. This is completely unacceptable, and warrants forfeiture of the privileges they’ve enjoyed in our country for far too long. Considering the risks to our wild stocks I implore you to recommend that open net pens be completely eliminated on our coast under a strict timeline, such as 12 months as nothing is worth the risk they pose to our wild stocks. Thank you for considering my humble opinion on this divisive, complex issue- good luck, you may need it and you certainly won’t please everybody.

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