Submission 0289-KENDRICK

Submitter: Paul Kendrick

Community: Campbell River

Date Submitted: October 15, 2023

The size of the 2010 Fraser sockeye run suggests that salmon farms did not affect the 2009 run. Instead, sockeye are likely impacted by a variety of complex issues, such as ocean survival rates, water temperature, unusual plankton blooms, low dissolved oxygen levels, predation and competition from ranched Alaskan salmon. The commission should focus on scientific evidence rather than unsubstantiated opinion, and conduct its investigation in an open and objective manner.

Last year’s dismal Fraser River sockeye return which was then followed this year by the greatest Fraser River run in 97 years of ~34 million sockeye should cause many of us to check our assumptions about what may or what may not have happened to the 2009 run.I think the only honest answer at this point is we don’t really know what happened in either year, do we?
If salmon farms are to blame for the failure of last year’s run- then wouldn’t they then have to be given credit for the astounding success of this year’s return?
Opponents can’t have it both ways. Personally, I doubt very much that salmon farms had anything to do with the state of either run.
I think that what the real lesson of both 2009 and 2010 sockeye runs is that the whole issue is much more complex than salmon farm opponents would have us believe.What about ocean survival from smolt to adult, water temperature,unusual plankton blooms, low dissolved oxygen levels along the migration routes,predation by other species that have turned up in our waters such as the Humbolt squid, competition from the zillions of Alaska salmon ranching hatchery, conditions in the Fraser River during both the adult and fry stages of both runs,availability of wild feed? My hope is that both salmon farming opponents and the Cohen Commission will focus on the actual evidence associated with each stage of the 2009 sockeye run- starting with the spawning year of 2005. How many adult salmon were confirmed to have actually reached the spawning grounds? How many fry were actually confirmed to have left the river?
What did test fisheries of that run show? What actual evidence is there- and where are the gaps in the evidence? Then lets look at those gaps- and figure out how we can do better.
I would hope that everyone who cares about the wild salmon is able to discern evidence backed fact from unsupported theory and opinion- and would want to do so, bacause it matters.We want the Cohen Commission to get to the bottom of this. And if we get to a place where we have to say, Well we really don’t know- then let’s admit that rather than try to fill the gaps with opinion and pointless rhetoric.Then be more diligent about tracking the different life stages of the wild sockeye going ahead.
The Cohen Commission’s job is to look into what happened with the 2009 Fraser River sockeye run with an open and unbiased view-and I hope they do just that.

Paul Kendrick

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