Tag Archives: British Columbia

Transported in ship ballast, Invasive crab poses threat to coastal ecosystem

Alaska normally welcomes European tourists. One traveler who’s been officially banned, however, is the European green crab, an invasive species with the potential to overrun coastal ecosystems. The green crab has already colonized Washington and parts of British Columbia, and conservationists want to delay its arrival in Alaska for as long as possible. The green crab lacks predators outside its original habitat,,, >click to read<  20:35

British Columbia: Mount Polley mine disaster 5 years later; emotions, accountability unresolved

People are swimming and fishing in Quesnel Lake five years after the largest environmental mining disaster in Canadian history, but residents of Likely, B.C., are still struggling with unresolved emotions about what happened and who will be held accountable for the dam collapse at the Mount Polley mine. A five-year deadline for federal Fisheries Act charges expired Sunday, while the possibility of other charges under the same act remains with no timeline for a decision. British Columbia missed the three-year deadline to proceed with charges under both the province’s Environmental Management Act and Mines Act. >click to read<21:47

Chief calls for state of emergency and fishery closure in light of Big Bar slide in Fraser River

A state of emergency and complete fishing closure should be called because of the Big Bar rock slide in the Fraser River, said Esket (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins Tuesday. “Along the coast they aren’t feeling the impact and on July 18 they can start fishing, but I believe there should be a complete closure for all fishing on the coast,” said Robbins,,,Robbins called a meeting in the community on July 12 and told members they would not be fishing until the rock slide is dealt with. Robbins is proposing different options to deal with the slide.,, “We need more boots on the ground and government to government to government discussion.” >click to read< 14:28

N.L. regulators watching closely as B.C. requires life jackets on fishing vessels

Fishers in British Columbia now have a clear directive when it comes to life jackets: they must be worn on decks of fishing vessels. That regulation change is getting attention in Newfoundland and Labrador.,,, The amended regulation in B.C. has safety advocates in Newfoundland and Labrador talking. >click to read< 10:37

Sweeping reforms to West Coast fisheries recommended

Canada’s West Coast fishery could be in for a sea change, if Parliament accepts and implements 20 recommendations being made by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.,,, recommending sweeping changes to the way commercial fishing licences and quota are owned in B.C.,,, including quota ownership by foreign investors who may never have set foot on a fishing boat or in Canada – that has turned commercial fishing in B.C. into “a modern day feudal system.” “The direction that the industry is going is driving the independent harvester – the small boat fisherman, the Ma and Pa operations – out of business on the coast.” The ownership of licences and quota in B.C. is different from Atlantic Canada and Alaska, where the people who do the fishing – commercial boat owners – tend to own the licences and quota. >click to read<23:14

Bill C-60: Reviewing the Fisheries Act – B.C. North Coast residents to Ottawa: ‘We can’t make a living fishing’

Lax Kw’alaams Band Mayor John Helin called for more consultation as he painted a grim picture,,,“In my community we have a fleet of 70-80 gillnetters that can’t make a living,,, Prince Rupert resident, Chelsey Ellis,,, Ellis grew up on the East Coast, where she’s seen the benefits of the owner-operator policy for fish harvesters. In her statement, she said this is not the same in British Columbia, where there has been a steady increase of licenses and quota being transferred from fishermen and away from coastal communities.>click to read<15:44

FISH-NL pleased with DFO move to increase seal licences; first step in addressing population

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is encouraged that Fisheries and Oceans has finally moved to increase the number of  — the first step to combating the massive population. DFO issued an advisory to harvesters earlier today to say that new applications for commercial assistant sealers will be considered.,,, The Harp seal population in the northwest Atlantic was last estimated in 2012 at 7.4 million animals — almost six times what it was in the 1970s.,,, Groups in British Columbia have called for a cull of the estimated 110,000 harbour seals and sea lions off that province for the impact they’re having on Pacific salmon stocks. >click to read<16:36

Pressure mounts for a seal harvest in B.C.

Pressure is mounting for a commercial seal harvest in British Columbia after the United States announced it will allow the killing of up to 920 sea lions a year in the Pacific North West to protect endangered wild fish stocks. The American lethal removal program, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, for the first time allows American native tribes to kill sea lions that are threatening endangered salmon and steelhead runs to extinction. Government authorities in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are already allowed to lethally ,,, >click to read<

Russell Wangersky – Farmed Salmon: Left behind

It sometimes feels that we’re perpetually jumping onto a ship just about the same time as everyone else is abandoning it. And nowhere does it seem more like that than in the aquaculture business. As the plans steamroller ahead for a new massive Placentia Bay open pen Atlantic salmon project with the provincial government (and key regulator) fully onside, it’s hard to ignore that many others are moving in the other direction. In the state of Washington, a large-scale fish escape saw that state announce a ban on Atlantic salmon pen farming and a wind-down of existing operations. (The salmon aquaculture business in Washington is back under the microscope this month after 800,000 juvenile salmon had to be destroyed because they were found to be carrying a strain of Piscine orthoreovirus, which is dangerous for wild stocks of salmon.) >click to read<

Solution to deal with B.C.’s sea lion surplus? Harvest them, group suggests

Sea lion populations have been on the rise for years and wreaking havoc on commercial fishermen’s catches and equipment, according to the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society. Adult male California sea lions can grow to as big as 800 pounds and consume massive quantities of fish as they grow. “Out in the waters and in our rivers, the pinniped populations have just exploded and we know they’re targeting mainly salmon, steelhead, trout and other fin fish species,” said Thomas Sewid. He believes seals and sea lions are over-abundant in B.C. waters and is spearheading a solution to deal with them. “Not just the natives want to start harvesting pinnipeds,” said Sewid. “This is an industry that can explode throughout coastal British Columbia.” >click to read<21:08

Protesters call for end to Chinook salmon fishing to save endangered orcas

Demonstrators concerned about the fate of the endangered southern resident killer whale population are calling for an end to all commercial fishing of Chinook salmon. There are just 74 of the southern residents remaining, and scientists say a lack of their primary food source, Chinook, is one of the key threats to their survival. On Wednesday, about a dozen protesters descended on Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson’s North Vancouver constituency office to call for change. Shirley Samples argued the government needs to ban all commercial and recreational Chinook fishing. “Why don’t we subsidize these fishermen? Why don’t we give them money so they can make it through this time when they have to forfeit fishing? There is a solution,”>click to read<10:20

Fraser River sockeye salmon fishing bonanza to start next week

The Fraser River will open next week for its first sockeye salmon run of the season, in a year that is expected to bring in millions of fish for the first time in four years. For local fishermen, it’s better than Christmas. “Oh, we’re super excited,” said Richmond fisherman Roy Jantunen, hours after learning the Pacific Salmon Commission had announced a 24-hour opening from 7 a.m. Wednesday. Jantunen is preparing to go flat out for that full day, without any sleep, to maximize his catch. “It’s great news,” he said. “Last week, we were pulling out the nets and getting them ready. We haven’t used these nets in four years.” >click to read<08:08

Hunters demand quota to cull thousands of seals and sea lions to save salmon population along B.C.’s coast

The Chief of Haida Gwaii First Nations is calling for a hunting quota on at least 3,000 seals and sea lions in his community and along the west coast of B.C. to help repopulate the critically low salmon stocks. The newly-established Pacific Balance Pinnipeds Society led by president and Chief Roy Jones wants Fisheries and Oceans Canada to establish an “annual harvest quota” on seals and seal lions. “It would be nothing to take probably 3,000 seals out Haida Gwaii, maybe 1,500 to 2,000 sea lions, because the populations are crazy up here,” said the 67-year-old Chief and retired fisherman who grew up watching his father and uncle hunt seals. >click to read<22:43

Fish Farm: Audit finds 70 percent of B.C. fish-processing plants do not comply with environmental regulations

An audit of British Columbia fish-processing plants sparked by gory video of a pipe spewing bloody water into the Salish Sea has found that more than 70 percent of plants audited are out of compliance with environmental regulations, and some operate under rules decades behind modern standards. Stronger measures are needed for the fish-processing industry, to ensure protection of the marine environment, including wild salmon, according to the audit of 30 fish-processing plants released Wednesday by the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in response to controversy that erupted over the plume. >click to read<13:00

This Canadian First Nations group wants you to buy salmon raised on land

Alert Bay isn’t exactly a premier destination on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific Coast. On this winter day, there are more crows than people on the town’s wooden sidewalks, and most of the few small businesses near the waterfront are closed for the season. The biggest building is an abandoned salmon cannery, a reminder of what used to be here. It’s a past that Bill Cranmer remembers well.,, For centuries, he says, salmon sustained the Namgis’ lives and culture.,, Cranmer says if he and his Namgis First Nation people had their way, they’d get rid of open-water salmon farms. But they can’t, so they’re trying another idea for rebuilding a salmon economy for their community. They’ve built their own salmon farm — on land. >click to read<15:26

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

A Washington senator says he wants to see British Columbia join the state in phasing out ocean-based Atlantic salmon farms when the province decides whether to renew farm leases in June. An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea if fish farms continue to operate in Canadian waters, said Democrat Sen. Kevin Ranker. The Washington state senate and house of representatives have recently passed bills that would phase out net-pen farms when their leases come up for renewal over the next seven years. >click to read<14:06

Still No Charges for the Company Behind Canada’s Largest Mining Spill

The company responsible for the Mount Polley mine spill—one of the largest environmental disasters in Canadian history—has found out it’s not going to face any charges in British Columbia. The news likely has billionaire Murray Edwards, owner of Imperial Metals and the Mount Polley mine (and the Calgary Flames) toasting with his rich friends in London (where he lives to avoid paying taxes). If you’re not in BC, there’s a chance the aerial images of the disaster haven’t already scarred you forever. This is what the collapsed tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine looked like in August 2014. >click to read< 16:55

British Columbia court grants injunction to fish farm, ending protests

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has granted an injunction to Marine Harvest Canada’s Midsummer Island farm, which is located amid a series of islands in the Broughton Archipelago, about 50 kilometres east of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. Protesters began occupying the farm in September, although Molina Dawson, a protester with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Nation, said they scaled back their activity while the legal proceedings were underway. Justice Peter Voith said in the decision that the protesters’ presence “gives rise to real safety issues” and he agrees that Marine Harvest will suffer irreparable harm if the occupation of the farm continues. click here to read the story 15:24

Hatchery Fish Often Fail in the Wild. Now We Might Know Why

Wild salmon are struggling to get their groove back.,, For years, Canada has tried to help bolster the salmon population by releasing hatchery-raised juvenile fish, or smolts, into the wild. Scientists know these hatchery smolts don’t do well in the wild—the fish tend to die younger than their wild brethren and reproduce less, but it’s unclear why. In a recent study, however, researchers think they’ve hit upon a possible explanation.,, In Washington State, hatchery-spawned steelhead also do poorly in the wild. click here to read the story 12:31

New research shows wild salmon exposed to fish farms have ‘much higher’ rate of disease

Wild salmon exposed to open-net fish farms are much more likely to be infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) than those that don’t have that contact, a new study has concluded. The data also show that the virus makes it more difficult for wild salmon to swim upstream to their spawning grounds, which has major implications for the sustainability of the populations. “The government has to remove this industry from the key salmon migration routes or we risk the complete loss of wild salmon in this province,” said Alexandra Morton, lead author on the report and an outspoken advocate for wild salmon. click here to read the story 18:07

The effect of exposure to farmed salmon on piscine orthoreovirus infection and fitness in wild Pacific salmon in British Columbia, Canadaclick here to read the study

This area of Canada is becoming known for its truly gigantic salmon

Ted Walkus may have made the catch of the year at Rivers Inlet, B.C. Walkus, a hereditary chief of Wuikinuxv First Nation, caught a salmon that makes the fish most of us see at the supermarket look like sardines. It was a 50-pound monster, nearly as tall as Walkus himself. Catching a fish this big isn’t a total anomaly in the area. Rivers Inlet is known as something of a lost world, one of the only places on Earth where massive Chinook salmon are born. The biggest-ever salmon caught in the area was an incredible 83.3 pounds. click here to read the story 15:50

CB Island Fisheries nets Masset’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award

When C B Island Fisheries stepped up to process sport-caught fish this spring, it saved a half-dozen jobs from swimming away off-island. “They greatly expanded this year,” says Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees, who presented the award last week to CBI General Manager Al Frick. After 22 years in business, CBI is a “heartstone” business that goes to Masset’s origins as a fishing community, said Merilees, but this year they took a new and much-needed turn when Haida Wild, the only other fish processor in Masset, stopped handling sport-caught fish this spring. click here to read the story 18:37

Fraser River Sockeye salmon recommended for listing under Species At Risk Act

The recommendation, announced Monday by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent scientific body that advises the federal government, is the most significant acknowledgement to date of the jeopardy facing the iconic red-bodied fish that was once the mainstay of British Columbia’s salmon industry. “It’s a signal of a larger issue,” said Eric Taylor, committee chair and fish ecologist at the University of British Columbia. “The Fraser River is having trouble supporting these fish.” click here to read the story 14:37

Salmon-farming operations face protests, occupations in B.C., legislative scrutiny in Washington state

A showdown is brewing over Atlantic salmon net-pen farming on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. Marine Harvest, a major producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in British Columbia, is seeking a court order to evict First Nations women who have occupied one of its fish farms, an order it intends to enforce by police action if necessary, said Ian Roberts, spokesman for the company. Marine Harvest operates 11 open-water Atlantic salmon net-pen farms in the Broughton Archipelago alone, at the northeast end of Vancouver. Ten of the farms have leases that are up for renewal by the B.C. government in June, and two of those farms have been occupied by First Nations people who say they won’t leave until the leases are canceled. click here to read the story 12:04

British Columbia: What is behind the sockeye salmon collapse?

The sockeye salmon run this year, is, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other reputable sources, down considerably. The reason for this, depends on who you talk to. Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, says part of the problem is the fisheries ministry has dragged its feet on the Cohen Commission recommendations. The Cohen Commission, created in 2009, issued a report in 2012 with 75 recommendations on how Fisheries and Oceans Canada (working with its provincial partner) could monitor and safeguard the Pacific salmon fisheries. click here to read the story 11:43

Photo Article: How BC’s Multicultural Fishing Industry Shaped the Province

Fishing has always been a fundamental part of life in British Columbia, particularly near Steveston. Because of the area’s natural abundance and proximity to salmon spawning grounds, Coast Salish First Nations were able to live off the area’s resources since time immemorial. Settlement in coastal areas soon began to swell and in the 1800s, Japanese, Chinese, and European immigrants joined the First Nations in harvesting and processing the catch. Then came the canneries. click here to view the photo’s, read the story 09:40

Creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia upsets fishing industry

Canada’s largest commercial fishermen’s union says the creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia’s north coast will result in lost jobs and higher prices for seafood. The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation says the protection area goes too far in banning all fishing in several regions between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. Jim McIsaac, the group’s Pacific vice-president, says the union supports safeguarding the region’s glass sponge reefs but he regrets that the Fisheries Department hasn’t followed the group’s advice after seven years of consultation. The federal government is expected to announce the new protection area on Thursday. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government does not believe preserving the glass-sponge conservation area is an either/or proposition and that it’s possible to do so while balancing the interests of the commercial fishing industry. Read the rest here 16:18

Bill C—228: Federal NDP MP proposes bill requiring fish farming be done in closed containment

Bill C—228, a bill that would require fish farming to be carried out in closed containment facilities, is on the table in the House of Commons and will be given a second reading sometime during the current session of Parliament. The private members bill was first introduced by Fin Donnelly, NDP MP for Port Moody —Coquitlam, in February, 2016. The bill amends the Fisheries Act. The proposed amendments state that licences for finfish aquaculture would not be issued unless they will be carried out in a closed containment facility and that no one shall carry out finfish aquaculture in Canadian fisheries waters off the Pacific Coast unless in a closed containment facility and with the proper license. Read the rest here 17:33

Ottawa investing $33.5M in British Columbia harbour improvement projects

The federal government announced it will invest $33.5 million to carry out harbour improvement projects — including wharf construction, maintenance and dredging — at 29 small harbours throughout B.C. “Small craft harbours are the hub for our fishing industry,” said Joe Peschisolido, Liberal MP for Steveston-Richmond, who announced the funding on Aug. 31. “Fish is actually now our second most important food export after wheat, and creates a lot of economic activity. If you want to create wealth … you want to have an efficient economy, you need infrastructure and small craft harbours are an integral part of our infrasturure. Almost a third of that funding will go to the Steveston Harbour Authority in Richmond, which serves over 500 commercial fishing vessels. Read the story here 16:12

BC Fisheries Workers Demand Rule Changes From Federal Government

canfisco-1-e1447516322984Representatives of BC shoreworkers and commercial license holders are in Ottawa today, demanding changes to federal legislation in order to save fish processing jobs on the North Coast. They want Ottawa to require local processing and individual licence ownership — which has become a huge issue in the wake of last November’s announcement by Canfisco that it was shutting down its Prince Rupert cannery – resulting in hundreds of job losses. Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says there’s a lot riding on the meeting. He says coastal communities are being devastated by federal policies which allow North Coast fish to be processed in China and Alaska — and which permit nearly 80 per cent of commercial licences to be bought up by large corporations. Read the press release here 18:32