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The war on wild salmon escalated during the Harper years as wild salmon were viewed as mere complications to environmental assessments of resource development projects. A year into the Trudeau Liberal government, it appears little has changed.
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The population of California sea lions has been on a steady climb since the end of commercial hunting in the 1970's, and are now estimated to number around 240,000. Climate change is adding to the challenge and has played havoc with the sea lions' natural food supply, resulting in the death and stranding of thousands of sea lions and pups along the entire Pacific Coast.
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"Marine mammal interactions" (a.k.a. deaths) are a well-known and inevitable consequence of open-pen salmon farming. It's hard not to see how putting large numbers of slow-moving, artificially fattened fish directly into the habitat of hungry sea lions is flawed by design.
While B.C. salmon runs are greatly diminished from historic levels, what is left is world-class and definitely worth fighting for. Wild salmon face a multitude of challenges, but aquaculture is one which is entirely within our ability to regulate.
When you are a multi-billion dollar, foreign-owned industry continuously mired in controversy over your environmental record, you have but two options: you clean up your act, or you clean up your image. The latest public relations offensive from B.C. salmon farmers leaves little doubt that for them, image is everything.
A salmon farm like the one proposed can create about the same amount of raw sewage as a city the size of Kelowna. "It's common sense," says Lennie John. "We fish in these waters for food, we don't go into Cermaq's kitchen and leave manure all over the floor."
To Krause, it seemed suspicious that foundations from across the border were giving money to Canadian groups working on Canadian conservation and energy issues. It must be, Krause surmised, that these big foundations are spending their dollars to manipulate Canadian energy and environment politics to further American interests.
The David Suzuki Foundation and others have run ads over the past decade decrying British Columbia's open net-cage salmon farm industry. With significant expansion planned for the West Coast, the question remains: Has B.C.'s salmon farm industry improved?
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