Canada- DFO ‘fudging the numbers,’ court finds; bars commercial fishery off Vancouver Island – Globe & Mail

If you were thinking of getting your fishing boat together to get up and take part in the herring fisheries off Vancouver Island, think again. The Canadian Federal Government continues it’s amazing lack of even rudimentary fact finding on whether to allow commercial fishing. It looks like the First Nations and the courts are standing up to these people. None too soon. Is the tide finally starting to turn?  Allowing Canada to wipe out their herring stocks does not help our fishing fleets either. As we all know, salmon live on the herring and we catch their fish, just like they catch ours.

An unprecedented court injunction has barred the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from opening a commercial fishery off Vancouver Island after a judge concluded DFO was “fudging the numbers” and that the federal minister declared it open against her own bureaucrats’ advice. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, whose herring-roe fishery has been closed since 2006, went to court last month seeking the injunction. The ruling has prompted the Haida First Nation to threaten similar court action. And the central coast First Nations say they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their fisheries. The First Nations say the fisheries should not be opened because they have not recovered enough to allow harvesting safely. In the Nuu-chah-nulth case, court documents showed that DFO experts agreed that all three areas should remain closed, but federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea chose to open the fisheries anyway. Zoe Tennant reports. (Globe and Mail)

 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/dfo-fudging-the-numbers-court-finds-bars-commercial-fishery-off-vancouver-island/article17391117/

10 million scallops are dead; Qualicum company lays off staff – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

This in from just over the border. What I understand about scallops is that they are the hardest shellfish to grow, and recent attempts to re-establish them in US Puget Sound waters have been unsuccessful (to commercially viable sizes). Maybe this is why.

High acid levels in the waters around Parksville Qualicum Beach have killed 10 million scallops and forced a local shellfish producer to scale operations back considerably.

Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders said the company has lost three years worth of scallops and $10 million.

“I’m not sure we are going to stay alive and I’m not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive,” Saunders told The NEWS. “It’s that dramatic.”

Judge overrules minister’s decision to open herring fishery – Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s First Nations declare victory over Department of Fisheries in fight to conserve fish.

B.C. First Nations won a major victory Friday when a Federal Court judge granted an injunction blocking the opening this year of a herring fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The decision came after an internal memo revealed Fisheries Minister Gail Shea overruled recommendations of scientists in her own department.

Read the whole story at the Vancouver Sun

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Judge+overrules+minister+decision+open+herring+fishery/9541803/story.html

Waters off B.C. coast awash in plastic particles. Vancouver Sun

If it’s there, it’s here. Could this issue have links to other problems we are seeing in the marine environment? Very likely. This could be a great project for some researchers here as well. The PT Marine Science Center did surveys of the beaches a few years ago and also found extensive plastic pollution almost everywhere they looked.

Water samples from off the B.C. coast have found up to about 9,200 particles of plastic per cubic metre, the director of a new ocean pollution program at the Vancouver Aquarium said Tuesday. Based on 34 water samples taken between inshore waters and 1,200 kilometres due west of Victoria, the concentrations of microplastics — pieces typically the size of a coffee ground — were found to increase in proximity to the mainland coast. Microplastics can be ingested by plankton, invertebrates and other marine life forming the base of the food chain; ingestion of plastics may make organisms think they are full, causing them to starve. “There is extensive contamination of sea water by microplastics,” confirmed Peter Ross, a former research scientist with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney on Vancouver Island. “It raises the questions: where are they coming from and do they pose a threat to the food web? This will remain a priority for the aquarium.” Larry Pynn reports.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Waters+coast+awash+plastic+particles+says+head+Vancouver/9520815/story.html

Eelgrass Mapping Results – BC Island Tides News

I sign up for the BC “Island Tides” newsletter, from the Gulf Islands. It often has very interesting articles. This month, they cover eelgrass mapping, something we are also involved with here. Ellgrass beds are fundamental habitat to juvenile fish and other species. We have been involved in Jefferson County in protecting the ell grass beds from having boaters anchor in them.

Environmental scientists took to the waters last fall for the second year of a three year initiative to map eelgrass in the Islands Trust area. The study will provide baseline information that marine scientists and conservation organizations can use to monitor marine habitats of the Salish Sea. The project’s partners—the Islands Trust Fund, SeaChange Conservation Society, and Seagrass Conservation Working Group—released the results of that mapping this week.

http://islandtides.com/assets/IslandTides.pdf

Jack Knox: Dump the rhetoric, prepare for oil spill – Times Colonist

The best analysis on us yet. We (the NW Straits Initiative and the Jefferson County MRC ) put on this very training a few months ago here in Port Townsend. We are the front lines against the out of control Canadians. And even they admit it.

Listening to Barack Obama give his State of the Union address, you could just about envision the oil tankers sliding past Victoria. Or maybe not, depending on who’s reading the tea leaves. In any case, our neighbours across Juan de Fuca Strait are taking no chances. They’re preparing for an oil spill. Spurred on in part by the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, U.S. authorities on the Olympic Peninsula are getting down to the nuts and bolts of what to do if the black goop hits the beach. For this is what suddenly alarmed Americans are dealing with now that dependable if dull Canada, the Ned Flanders of North America, has suddenly gone Breaking Bad: Ford, Bieber and bitumen, baby — the Canucks have gone rogue.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/jack-knox-dump-the-rhetoric-prepare-for-oil-spill-1.807248

Incredible underwater videos from BC filmmaker(s)

I just discovered the work that Tavish Campbell, Ian McAllister and others are  doing north of the border to save and protect the Great Bear Rainforest. Their video project is putting web cameras all over the place, and having local First Nation kids help run them. The  goal is to help educate the planet to the amazing forest there, the last intact temperate rainforest on the planet, and the threat from the tar sands pipeline the Harper Government  is attempting to smash through. The threat to the forest, and the surrounding waters is real, as Harper has no real opposition, and is acting much like the kind of government found in African oil regions. Nothing is successfully standing in the way to do whatever they want to ship this oil everywhere. Now a superport in one of the most delicate and incredible ecosystems left.

Why is this important to us on the Peninsula? Because the massive increase in tanker traffic will not just happen up north of Vancouver Island (which will threaten the north part of the island) but also will bring more tanker traffic through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. All the while, Harper is slashing the budgets to the Coast Guard, and from conversations I’ve had with our Coast Guard, they are very worried, though assume they will have to pick up the slack.

So Pacific Wild has  been having great video shooters up and do work there.  They have been running a fundraiser for more gear that I just found out ended by the time you read this. But you can share in the discovery of their amazing work.

Here’s what they have to say about their work:

Pacific Wild Alliance is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the Great Bear Rainforest and its wildlife.  As the largest remaining intact temperate rainforest on the planet, the Great Bear is under immediate threat from crude oil and liquid natural gas pipeline proposals that would go directly through the heart of the rainforest.  At Pacific Wild Alliance, we are dedicated to showing the world how truly unique this area is and what would be lost if these proposals were to go forward.

Great Bear LIVE is an innovative research project and conservation tool that transmits live wildlife video and audio streams from the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to your personal computer anywhere in the world.  By sharing the hidden world of the Great Bear Rainforest, Pacific Wild Alliance can connect people with the region we are striving to protect and educate the world about the many threats this pristine ecosystem faces.

This short piece is well worth taking a couple of minutes to see. Absolutely stunning underwater video. All just a few hours north of us.  If you know someone who might want to help fund their work, it’s likely not to late to ask them.

 

Report from the Front: Alexandra Morton’s latest video

Lots of news on the farmed salmon front lately. The  world’s leading scientist working on educating the public on this threat, Ms. Alexandra Morton of Canada, has a new video covering the several disturbing bits of news regarding salmon farming. From Canada’s taking down of the Cohen Commission’s comprehensive web site (the government spent $26M on the commission!), to a new genetically modified salmon, to the EU failing to properly protect the public from high levels of toxins in Norwegian farmed salmon, this 9 minute video is worth a short break from your day.

It’s more clear than ever that saying no to farmed salmon is the right thing to do, and that their industry looks more and more like nuclear power, a failed experiment that just won’t go away because there is too much money at stake.

http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/11/looking-more-than-a-little-dodgy.html

Can-Am Leaders Launch Salmon Recovery Effort – Earthfix

UPDATE SINCE FIRST PUBLISH: (I’ve substantially rewritten this after chatting with Jacques White)

I think that Ashley Ahearn for Earthfix may have not quite got right the gist of what this project is going to be all about. After reading this article, and posting my thoughts, I called and chatted with Jaques White of the “Long Live the Kings”, one of the core groups helping get this project done. Jacques told me that this is all about creating monitoring of nearshore habitat for primarily steelhead, as they are the most robust younger fish and can actually more easily be tracked. Jacques stated that there if very little knowledge about what these fish do after reaching the salt water, and if we can figure them out, perhaps we can bring science to bear on fixing the problem of their high mortality rates, which have gotten much worse since the 1980s, never recovering to previous numbers.

The money will be spent on hiring scientists to monitor these fish and their habitats, both from the NW Indian Fisheries and State Dept of Fish and Wildlife.  So all good work to get the money to research this problem more.

It’s a good thing to get the leaders from both countries together and try and come up with the latest in scientific data on why, despite all the best of work and intentions, our salmon are still going down over all. However, not all is dire. Runs are increasing on many rivers, due to an incredible amount of work by many thousands of people and agencies. Those watersheds are being repopulated with fish because people already know what’s wrong and are working to implement solutions. However, as mentioned in the story, “The marine survival for many stocks of chinook, coho and steelhead that migrate through the Salish Sea is now less than one-tenth of what it was 30 years ago.” At least the participants in this new entity are good choices, and include a wide range of active participants in current solutions.

A stumbling block on all this  is the ugly truth that the Canadian government is purposely blocking independent researchers like Alexandra Morton from finding out what is really going on with fish viruses, which she has shown to be present. Unless Canada is willing  to accept that they may have a massive problem on their hands that might go against their business interests, and stop protecting the foreign investments that seem to be buying Ottawa’s support, it’s likely this will not help much for increasing ocean stocks. The Canadian government is treating Morton like a pariah, their actions speak much louder than their words. They have actively been shutting down any and all government funded labs that choose to work with her in the last six months alone. This is really outrageous, and puts their efforts to help fix the problem as suspect. So with that background, here’s the article by Earthfix.

Leaders on salmon research and recovery from the U. S. and Canada came together in Seattle Wednesday to announce a new project. It’s called the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and it’s meant to address a major question: Why aren’t salmon and steelhead in Washington and Canadian waters recovering, despite the millions of dollars that have been spent on research and habitat restoration? “We have a fairly clear idea of what salmon need and what they’re doing in the freshwater environment. We know considerably less about the marine systems,” said Jacques White, executive director of Long Live The Kings. The Seattle-based non-profit is coordinating the effort along with the Pacific Salmon Foundation in B.C. Ashley Ahearn reports.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/new-transboundary-salmon-recovery-effort-launched/

Fisheries and Oceans Canada looking into claims of sick herring–Times Colonist

Less than 100 miles or so north of us, the crisis of sick herring (and the disease vector that appears to be farmed Atlantic Salmon) is about to explode.  Can our fisheries be far behind?

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is trying to confirm reports from an independent biologist that herring around northern Vancouver Island have a disease that is causing bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

Alexandra Morton wrote to DFO asking for an investigation and viral testing of the fish after she pulled up a net of about 100 herring near Sointula and found they were all bleeding.

Read the whole story at the Times Colonist:

http://www.timescolonist.com/business/fisheries-and-oceans-canada-looking-into-claims-of-sick-herring-1.588652

‘Crisis time’ for B.C. waters, environmental groups say – Times Colonist

Our friends to the north are taking the expanded tanker and population threats seriously. See if you are doing all you can do.

Two of B.C.’s major environmental organizations are launching a Save-the-Salish-Sea campaign because of looming threats to the delicate ecosystem. The groups are concerned about possible expanded coal and oil exports, which would increase the number of tankers and coal ships travelling from Vancouver, through the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca Strait, as well as existing problems, such as pollution and overuse. Georgia Strait Alliance and the Wilderness Committee are asking B.C. residents to demonstrate support for the water that surrounds them by pledging to become “caring kayakers, bright birders and savvy shoreline users.” Judith Lavoie reports.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/crisis-time-for-b-c-waters-environmental-groups-say-1.562485

Scientists concerned over chill in reporting of salmon virus after lab delisted – Vancouver Sun

The fallout continues:

Scientists fear there could be a reluctance to report a deadly fish virus after the first lab in Canada to say it was detected in British Columbia salmon was stripped of a special reference status by an international agency. Marine researchers say they were stunned to hear that the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, recently suspended the reference status from a research laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Run by Fred Kibenge, who is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on infectious salmon anemia, it was one of only two labs in the world recognized by the group for the testing of the virus. Alison Auld reports.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Scientists+concerned+over+chill+reporting+salmon+virus/8626837/story.html

Scientists are divided over virus threat to Northwest salmon – Various Sources

Like mariners scanning the horizon from the crow’s nest, scientists have for years been on the lookout in the Pacific Northwest for signs that a dreaded salmon-killing disease, scourge to farmed salmon in other parts of the world, has arrived here, threatening some of the world’s richest wild salmon habitats. Most say there is no evidence. But for years, a biologist in Canada named Alexandra Morton — regarded by some as a visionary Cassandra, by others as a misguided prophet of doom — has said definitively and unquestionably that they are wrong.

Kirk Johnson reports. Scientists are divided over virus threat to Northwest salmon
http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130505/NEWS/130509993/scientists-are-divided-over-virus-threat-to-northwest-salmon

See also: Fish farms allied with government, activists say
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/fish-farms-allied-with-government-activists-say-1.146182

and see the free hour long video on Alexandra and her work. Very damning to the BC Provincial and Canadian Government.

https://vimeo.com/61301410

Canadian fisheries continue to decimate herring fisheries

The Canadian government retreat on all things environmental continues. While the quotas continue to get higher, the amount of fish in the water shrinks. Outcome is likely a total collapse of the herring fishery, sooner than later. They allowed it in Newfoundland, and now here.

Judith Lavoie reports. Quota rises as herring count falls http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/quota-rises-as-herring-count-falls-1.88502

Leading Farmed Fish Opponent on the History of the Canadian Farmed Fish Opposition

Want a short but thorough read of the history of the silencing of the opposition to farming salmon in Canada? Here it is. Alexandra Morton, the woman who has done more to educate the population to the perils of farmed salmon, has done an overview of how the Canadian government has systematically worked to silence any and all critics of salmon farming. You also have a chance to sign a petition helping to put your voice out to end the practices of this industry. If you ever wondered what the hubbub over farmed wish was all about, here’s a chance to get a quick education on the subject.

http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/01/silenced.html

Greater Victoria sewage committee votes to keep project flowing – Times Colonist

Thank you to the politicians who stood up for a cleaner Strait.

Greater Victoria’s contentious sewage-treatment project survived its latest challenge Tuesday when a motion that would have suspended work until 2040 was rejected. Politicians on the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee voted 10 to four against demanding that the federal government reclassify the region as at a lower risk for sewage pollution. That means the $783-million treatment project will continue, with completion of a secondary-treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt by 2018. Rob Shaw reports.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Greater+Victoria+sewage+committee+votes+keep+project+flowing/7617633/story.html

Japan to help pay for tsunami debris cleanup – CBC

Good to hear that Japan is going to give something back to our governments for the tsunami debris.

The Japanese government will help pay for the disposal of debris washing up on Canadian and American shores due to the catastrophic tsunami which hit the country last year, according to press reports from Tokyo. Japan does not have to take care of such debris under international law, but in a report on Monday the English-language Nikkei newspaper said officials would announce a plan to provide assistance to the U.S. and Canada later this month.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/09/03/bc-japan-pay-tsunami-debris.html

Victoria should brace for rising sea levels, more storms: climate change report – Vancouver Sun

Our neighbors across the Strait assess what climate change might mean to us on the Strait.

A risk assessment on climate change for the City of Victoria says it needs to start work now to prepare for rising sea levels, more storms, wetter winters and drier summers. The assessment looks at the projected risks the city will face with changes in climate conditions by 2050. The report predicts temperatures in Victoria could rise by more than two degrees by 2050, the amount of summer rain could drop by 32 per cent, while winter precipitation may jump 14 per cent, along with a similar increase in the number of intense storms.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Victoria+should+brace+rising+levels+more+storms+climate+change/7109202/story.html

Another 300k fish culled in BC after virus hits another fish farm

Yet another fish farm in BC has been infected. This one near Jervis Inlet.

http://www.theprovince.com/health/company+kill+Atlantic+salmon+after+virus+outbreak/7064123/story.html

Survey of Pacific Gyre shows ocean garbage ours, not Tsunami – CBC

An environmental group has returned from another trip into the debris field in the North Pacific, where it found that home-grown garbage — not tsunami wreckage — is forming the bulk of the floating mess.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/08/08/bc-ocean-garbage-survey.html

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