Tell the Prime Minister to remove DFO from the salmon farming promotion business

The following quote is from the Living Oceans Society and includes a letter to sign as well as an interesting report to download if you choose to:

Dear friend,

In the Fall issue of Rising Tide you can read about how all of our hard work at the Cohen Commission was repaid last month when Justice Cohen came down hard on salmon farming and DFO, among the many factors contributing to the decline of the Fraser River sockeye. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the support that helped us through that incredibly long and often tedious process! We could never have taken the struggle for wild salmon as far as we have done without you.

Now for the really hard part: implementation. Your donation of $20, $50 or $100 will help us push the federal government to follow through with Justice Cohen’s recommendations while we have momentum on our side. We’ve won an important victory because the concerns outlined for the Fraser River sockeye apply in some measure to all of Canada’s wild fish. While we feel vindicated by the findings, we still have a long road ahead of us before we see them acted upon.

You can help. We need you at our backs, voicing your support for implementation, too. We’re going to make it easy for you, with a new action alert on our website. If you could manage a phone call to your MP, that would surely help, too.

Our campaigners need your support to organize a concerted national push to implement Justice Cohen’s recommendations. Why not make your gift today? You can become a monthly supporter and help us keep the pressure on the government to protect B.C.’s wild salmon that years of mismanagement have put at risk. I hope that we can count on you to see this one through to success!

Yours Sincerely,
Karen Wristen,
Executive Director

The Final Report of the Commission into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon to the Fraser River contains 75 recommendations – all of which will benefit wild salmon if the Harper Government implements them. Most are specific to Fraser River sockeye salmon but many apply equally across our country. The implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy, for instance, will benefit wild salmon everywhere in Canada.

Living Oceans supports all of Justice Bruce Cohen’s recommendations, in particular, the one calling for the federal government to remove the promotion of the salmon farming industry and farmed salmon from the mandate of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Justice Cohen felt this conflict of interest detracts from DFO’s paramount mandate to conserve wild fish.

Now it is up to the Harper Government to make the change. You can help wild salmon by sending an e-mail to the Prime Minister and telling him to implement all of Justice Cohen’s recommendations including removing the conflict of interest from DFO’s mandate.

Send an e-mail to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

The Final Report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon Returns to the Fraser River was tabled in Parliament recently by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). I support all of the recommendations in the Final Report and am writing to you today asking that your government implement them as soon as possible in order to protect and conserve wild salmon. A number of the recommendations can be accepted by government quite readily as they do not require budget appropriations.

Justice Cohen made a number of recommendations for minimizing the risk to wild salmon from salmon farming. Many can be implemented quite easily and inexpensively. 

– Continue to require the collection of fish health data directly from salmon farm operators and through DFO audits.

– Require, as a condition of licence, that salmon farm operators provide fish samples according to a protocol specified by DFO.

– Give non-government scientific researchers access to primary fish health data collected through DFO’s existing routine monitoring programs.

– Limit the maximum duration of salmon farming licences to one year in Fish Health Sub-zone 3-2 (an area known as the Wild Salmon Narrows) which is an important migratory route for Fraser River sockeye salmon.

– Refrain from issuing any new licences in the Wild Salmon Narrows.

– Refrain from permitting increases in production at existing net-pen salmon farms in the Wild Salmon Narrows.

– Prohibit net-pen salmon farms in the Wild Salmon Narrows unless the Minister of Fisheries is satisfied that such farms pose at most a minimal risk to the health of migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon.

– Revise and apply siting criteria for salmon farms.

– Remove a conflict of interest within the mandate of DFO.

DFO’s paramount constitutional mandate is to conserve and protect wild fish like Fraser River sockeye salmon, but Justice Cohen feels the Ministry is conflicted by also promoting aquaculture. Justice Cohen recommended removing the promotion of the salmon farming industry and farmed salmon products from the DFO’s mandate. He made this a priority by placing it third in his list of 75 recommendations. It would be a simple matter for your government to resolve this conflict of interest. I am writing to urge you to allow DFO to focus on the important job of protecting wild fish TODAY.

Today’s “stone” is Day 336  oceans…beauty and life abundant


3 thoughts

  1. How ridiculous that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is not only allowing, but encouraging the decimation of the wild salmon environment. Your government is starting to sound like ours — what a shame that would be. I hope the PM implements these suggestions, and moves fish hatcheries and all aquaculture to locations that don’t threaten native fish. 😎

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