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.
There's a grim life or death struggle taking place in the Pacific Northwest, where most of Canada's salmon lives. Mounting scientific research paints a disturbing picture: Farmed salmon are threatening the very survival of their wild counterparts.
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."
In British Columbia, salmon are sacred. For centuries, they have nourished First Nations and settlers alike, and continue to sustain virtually all of the wildlife we cherish in B.C.: orcas, eagles, bears, seals and sea lions, wolves and even our forests. Wild salmon make life possible on the West Coast. So why are our federal and provincial governments trying to kill them? I do not speak of simple neglect. I mean actively working towards the destruction of wild salmon.
As its name implies, the Atlantic salmon has always been seen as an ocean dweller. But the Canadian fishing industry is on
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.