When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an "extremely rare" occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here. He failed to mention the 46 "dangerous or unusual occurrences" that B.C's chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating mine sites.
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?
The record decline in sockeye returning to the Fraser River in 2009 provided the initial push for a federal judicial inquiry. Now, four years later, the offspring of those salmon are returning to spawning grounds in dismally low numbers -- so low that sockeye salmon fishery closures are widespread. What happened to Justice Bruce Cohen's 75 carefully crafted recommendations to rebuild Pacific salmon?
The Cohen report is a gift; a well-researched and valuable tool by which to recover wild salmon, not only the Fraser River sockeye runs, but salmon populations across B.C. But its recommendations must be implemented, funded and enforced. The ball is now in the court of the federal government.
VANCOUVER - A sitting judge spent three years and $26 million looking for answers around the collapse of a Fraser River sockeye
VANCOUVER - One of British Columbia's most vocal advocates for the preservation of wild salmon says she's not waiting to
Science is playing second fiddle to political concerns in Canada and the U.S. Recently, we've seen more "muzzling" of scientists, funding cuts, and an increasing disregard for science in policy-making. This scientific antipathy could not come at a worse time.
Officials prevented Kristi Miller from speaking to journalists about her possible explanation for salmon stock depletion. Unfortunately, this appears to be part of an emerging pattern in which the federal government is seeking to subvert or discredit the role of science in policy-making.