Submission 0842-JOHNSON

Submitter: Sonja and Robert Johnson

Community: North Saanich

Date Submitted: October 7, 2023

Resolve the conflict of interest in having DFO responsible for both promoting the salmon farm industry and the sustainability of wild Pacific salmon.

1 What is your vision for the sustainability of Fraser River Sockeye?

Wild Pacific Salmon can and will continuously recreate themselves if we humans clean up our mess and get out of their way.

The Cohen Commission should recommend that our BC coastal waters be restored, from the Fraser River and its hundreds of freshwater streams to such inland ocean waters as the Queen Charlotte Strait, to the conditions that once made it possible for Sockeye Salmon to continue their amazing ability to return to where they were born and recreate themselves again and again.

2 What are the major habitat risks for the Fraser River Sockeye and how can these be mitigated?

One major habitat risk that needs to be mitigated is the introduction of open net pen salmon farms into the waters that once made it possible for wild salmon to continuously recreate themselves. Wild salmon have endured many hurdles such as poor forestry practices, industrial and commercial pollution, and habitat destruction without adding yet one more major impediment of running the gauntlet of sea lice and disease from the open net farms on the fry’s migration routes. The farms are disease ridden due to regulation changing from the original 300,000 fish approximately per pen to 1.3 million fish approximately per pen. Everyone knows how disease multiplies with density. It is no surprise that the Fraser River salmon are at risk on their migration routes. The BC coast is the habitat, not just the streams feeding the Fraser River.

3. How can farmed salmon be effectively harvested?
It has been tested and proven that farmed fish can be harvested from land-based pens or containment pens. Open net pens allow the industry to profit while polluting our waters, while causing the demise of wild stock by propagating infestations and disease, escalating to cancer viruses found and undisclosed to the public, that will destroy one of the last world nurseries of wild salmon.

The first step, however, is to resolve the conflict of interest and lack of integrity in having DFO responsible for both promoting the invasive Atlantic salmon farm industry and the sustainability of the genetics and numbers of our Wild Pacific Salmon.

May the Cohen Commission findings bring strong recommendations to the Federal Government to restore conditions for our wild salmon stock to survive.
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission.
S. and B. Johnson

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