Submission 0393-WATSON

Submitter: Barbara Watson

Community: Sidney

Date Submitted: December 21, 2023

The presence of 58 aquaculture sites in Rockfish Conservation Areas is an example of how DFO’s commitment to aquaculture has been prioritized over the protection of a species at risk. Aquaculture sites also reduce small vessel operators’ access to anchorages and safe havens, which represents a failure by Transport Canada to keep man-made debris out of public waterways and protect mariners’ rights of navigation. The adoption of closed containment technology would not resolve this issue, as aquaculture sites would continue to obstruct public waterways. The solution is to replace water tenures with land tenures.

The political waters in BC are so muddy a fish could not breathe.

The “Rockfish Conservation Areas” are another example in which DFO’s commitment to Aquaculture has been prioritized over the protection of the habitat of a “species at risk”. There are 58 aquaculture sites in contravention of Federal “Rockfish Conservation Areas”. Conflict of interest. No he said/she said science there.

The Provincial government is quietly renewing all existing and expired Provincial aquaculture tenure sites without any transparent review of the rights of the industry to our waterway system. Does the mariners rights of navigation and the public need to access our anchorages for safety reasons take priority over the business plans of foreign industry? The Hinkson decision made it clear that the Province never had the legal right to regulate and authorize these Fisheries. This should also have questioned the processes used by this unauthorized administration to gain unprecedented possession of our public waterways for these private Fisheries. Water tenures without upland ownership or interests were not previously allowed in Canada. The Province permitted tenures to industry but tenures were denied to people. No he said/she said science there.

Transport Canada is responsible for keeping dangerous man-made debris out of our waterways, yet has blindly approved all applications that do not impact large commercial shipping and has failed to properly monitor and enforce aquaculture hazards. The fact that thousands of small vessel operators in BC have been hugely impacted by the loss of safe havens to Aquaculture without our knowledge or permission has been ignored. We were neither adequately consulted nor properly notified of pending applications. Who is liable for vessel damages?…….for chart errors due to the inability to keep up to changing, expanding or new site locations? A conflict of interest. No he said/she said science there.

Any small marine entrepreneur initiatives are mostly squashed and overwhelmed by excessive Federal commercial regulations in the name of safety, yet our most important safety tool is a safe haven and anchorage when on the water…… These have been dramatically and systematically reduced in number to permit private Fisheries. Our waterways have never been adequately protected for their transportation value, in spite of a coastline that has few roads but endless islands, fiords and channels accessible only by water. Another conflict of interest. No he said/she said science here.

Closed containment would still obstruct our waterways and only solves limited concerns. Continuing to push for our money to be given to these foreign industries for transition to closed containment is maddening when the industry states in other publications that closed containment is not viable. The environmental groups are being used to retain some credibility in BC. We are losing and the environmental groups are congratulating the progress. I believe that the industry is content to let the communities die and leave the entire coast available for exploitation at minimal rent without interference from annoying people. All local businesses are permitted to die if the business plan does not work. This is just more delay tactics and company spin. I will be truly appalled if we pay them to remain here in our waters. The Precautionary Principle. Land based……….OK.

THE MARINERS OF BC DO NOT WANT AQUACULTURE FEEDLOTS IN OUR WATERWAYS! No discussion required. The Federal government may have made the “New” Aquaculture Regulations, but we can deny them the land, can’t we?……..We can and we will. First and Second Nations stand together. We’ve wasted enough money. Offer land tenures to replace water tenures. Period.

Barbara Watson
Sidney, BC

Submission Files:

File 1:


File 2:

Contravene RCA’s.docx

File 3:


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