Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BC Government DFO Gone Awry

As the Cohen commission has progressed its been a bit like watching a sad train wreck. The BC government and DFO have long been boosters for the aquaculture industry, most of which is foreign owned, but their behavior of late has crossed a line in attempts to shield the industry from scrutiny from the public. No longer are they simply ignoring the effects that salmon farming is having on wild fish throughout the Georgia Basin, now they're covering it up.

A major publication by a DFO researcher and a group of collaborators recently revealed that a viral pathogen, likely salmon leukemia, is having devastating effects on Fraser Sockeye with as much as 95% of some components of the run dying before they reach the spawning grounds. Since the publication she has not been allowed to speak to the media and so far DFO refuses to test salmon farms( a likely vector and breeding ground for any disease) for salmon leukemia.

Recently, when asked to furnish disease records for the Cohen commissions inquiry into the Fraser Sockeye collapse the government declined, saying the records, do not include information about the location of the sampling and are there for irrelevant. First of all, I don't buy it. No one has seen the records save for a few attorneys and the BC government, but who honestly collects data without noting their location? If someone who is trained as a scientist did collect information in such a fashion they certainly did it for a reason. And guess who the province trotted out to announce they wouldn't be releasing court ordered disease records? Gary Marty, the esteemed veterinary scientist who recently found it within his area of expertise to publish a paper using proprietary industry sea lice data which dubiously claimed that population collapses of Broughton Archipelago pink salmon were not caused by lice. Not only that, but rather than face the very obvious conflict of interest head on he chose to publish the paper through a faculty posting he has at UC Davis, oh but by the way he's a fish pathologist with the BC ministry of agrniculture when it comes to shielding fish farming companies from public scrutiny. I suppose that's out of UC Davis' mandate.

All of this stinks it is becoming increasingly apparent that the BC government and DFO and really just bullshit machines intent on allowing open net pen salmon farming to continue unchecked in the provinces waters. We've already seen collapses of multiple species throughout the Georgia Basin concurrent with the expansion of the fishfarming industry, doesn't that alone warrant good hard scientific look at the impact of fish farms? And the sad fact is the industry could very easily be making money in closed containment, on land, they just dont want to. So instead foreign owned fish farming companies (mostly Norwegian) are happy to place BC's public resources at risk, biding their time until one day, hopefully in the near future, they cut and run. Lets just hope the devastation isn't as bad as what they've left in Chile, Norway, Ireland and basically everywhere else they're gone.

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