Thursday, April 26, 2018

Are fish farms trampling BC's seas?

If you think the crude oil pipeline across British Columbia's beautiful wilderness is the only environmental issue about which I am passionate — well, it is NOT.

Mom loved river fishing, too
I still care about many other things,
especially the many other things
threatening CANADA'S WEST COAST!
Yes, Canada's West Coast!

This isn't just British Columbia's coast:


Take fish, for instance. I don't remember a time in my life when my father didn't love fishing. When we lived in the interior of British Columbia, he was an avid river fisherman. Dad and his friends, Nick and Tom, would have been exploring rivers every weekend if not for domestic responsibilities.
After I finished high school, Dad moved us to the coast: to White Rock, then a pretty little town sporting a nice long pier for walking, and ever-present hopefuls (adults and youngsters) with fishing rods, trying their luck.
Well, my Dad always got up to something with his buddies, wherever he was. As soon as he finished renovating the cute little house-with-a-wonderful-view that we bought soon after our arrival, he was able to turn his mind to saltwater fishing.

Not our boat but similar, circa 1960
Enter another of his buddies, an Albertan with similar dreams of saltwater fishing and trophy-size salmon. Together, Dad and his friend Ralph bought a boat, which they spruced up before launching it into the waters off Crescent Beach. Dad had just finished painting the name on the boat when two young boys came by and asked him what the name meant.
With a straight face, my father pointed to his work and said, "Non-A-Mee. It's an ancient name meaning Boat That Catch Many Fish."
"Oh, wow!" said the boys before they wandered off.
(The name Dad and Ralph had chosen was "NONAME" without a space between the O and the second N, but we did pronounce it "Non-A-Mee" after that!)
So, with boat and motor spruced up and launched, off they went in search of the wild salmon. Before they could catch anything, however, their boat was stolen, and found afterward wrecked on a beach just south of the international boundary.
No fish for Dad and Ralph.

SO...BACK ON TOPIC...are fish farms ruining BC salmon stocks?

Fish Farms Expose Wild Salmon to Deadly Virus, Study Finds

Wild fish exposed to farms are nine times more likely to carry virus linked to deadly disease. (This is not new news.)

Wild salmon in British Columbia face a number of threats throughout their life cycle: widespread destruction of upstream habitat caused by logging, roadbuilding; reduced food supply caused by exploitation of forage fish species; warming waters due to climate change; pathogens and aquatic pollution to destructive fishing practices and overfishing.

Sockeye stocks have been in overall decline since at least the 1950s, while chinook and coho stocks in particular have been in severe decline since 1990.

Dull grey sky and water but fishermen must work.
Victoria Times-Colonist photo

The Federal government and  the provincial government have gutted legislation protecting freshwater habitat for wild salmon in favour of industrial development, and the continues to support and promote open net pen salmon farming on the B.C. coast, as does the provincial government.
Among these threats, fish farming is perhaps the easiest to tackle through legislative changes to farm siting and practices.

Wild salmon are the foundation of the Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem. Killer whales, sea lions and other marine mammals feed on salmon at sea. Each autumn, black, Spirit and grizzly bears, wolves, eagles, gulls and a host of other wildlife gather in estuaries and along rivers to feast on salmon swimming upriver, returning to spawn in their natal streams.
At the end of their life cycle: 
salmon moving inland jump
upriver to reach spawning grounds
The end of the salmon life cycle brings renewal to the rainforest, delivering ocean-derived nutrients to the forests.

Wild salmon have been central to First Nations cultures on the B.C. coast for thousands of years (yes, thousands!) and coastal communities continue to rely on salmon for sustenance and sustainable livelihoods.

Wild salmon are also the cornerstone of B.C.’s tourism industry, whether they are featured in local cuisine or as the main food source for whales, bears and other wildlife which attract so many visitors to the province.
Sunrise, San Felipe,
Baja California, Mexico

And there is more...
'British Columbia's government:
complicit in contamination.'
Coming soon to a blog post near here.

Posting for Fiona's ever-so-popular meme
Skywatch Friday

Watch my blog for future Skywatch photos, some with no rants at all, plus some pictures from my parents' many winters on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Wonderful skies, those Mexicans. I don't know how they do it!


Jim said...

Your sunrise is similar to my sunset today.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I can see why you are passionate about wild salmon. They are so critical to so many things! Love the boat name and hated to hear about it being stolen and wrecked.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Nothing quite compares to a sunset on the sea.

Lady Fi said...

I suppose fish farms are necessary in order to preserve the dwindling schools of wild fish? For example, over here, cod is nearly extinct!! But fish farms bring their own problems with them... I've given up all fish and meat because I don't want to be a part of the problem.

Joyful said...

I rue the day they brought in the idea of fish farming. It's been in the news now for a few years about how these fish farm issues are spreading to the wild salmon. Maybe other fish I'm not sure. But I mean I just can't fathom the stupidity of those that make decisions. I know you have a passion for this beautiful country. I wish the natural environment and habitat was not being destroyed here and all around the world.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, pretty sky capture. I like to eat fish but not catch it, lol.

Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
The same issue rages about the salmon farming here in the Bonny Land... and there it was, supposed to stop the damage to wild stocks... sigh... YAM xx

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Kind of embarrassed to make this comment about your aside, but you probably already could guess that we do agree with you on the important issues you so succinctly state. But I have to say that I read the boat-name part of the story to my husband just now and he loved it as much as I knew he would!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?

Plz reply as I'm looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from.

Al said...

Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room - how do we feed the constantly-expanding population of this planet? I don't have the answers but I believe that nature will take care of our overpopulation one way or another.

bill burke said...

We don't support or eat any farm fish. I would never think it was actually good and healthy to eat. We do love salmon but only wild salmon. Love the story of your dad's naming of his boat.
Have a wonderful evening.

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful sunset photo!

Happy Weekend to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

John's Island said...

Hi Kay, What an excellent post on the environment and the importance of wild salmon. It seems to me that the whole process of development has been going forward without due recognition of the long term costs. Today’s youngsters are going to have some real problems to live with. Looking forward to hearing more from you. JohnHi Kay, What an excellent post on the environment and the importance of wild salmon. It seems to me that the whole process of development has been going forward without due recognition of the long term costs. Today’s youngsters are going to have some real problems to live with. Looking forward to hearing more from you. John

magiceye said...

Loved reading the tale of the NoName boat. Sad ending though. Soon we will have organic fish!
Man started agriculture farming and messed it up to satiate his greed now doing the same thing with fish. When will we ever learn and let nature be.

Irene Waters said...

Loved your memory of your Dad and Ralph's boat and its name. It seems to me that we are doing dreadful things to all our food supplies, the salmon as you've mentioned, crops and genetic engineering and feeding of animals to cows. I wonder in another 50 years what will be safe to eat. I guess the big problem is there are so many of us wanting to eat, let alone having to eat. Beautiful sunrise.

Powell River Books said...

Back when I was married to my first husband we would visit his father in San Felipe and his mother in Ensenada. They were divorced so I guess they had to keep a whole peninsula between them. It was fun to go to Mexico then because we could legally drink before we were 21. - Margy

Linda said...

Keep on ranting! You have important things to say.

Ranten said...

Interesting reading! M

Susie of Arabia said...

I love the story of the name your dad gave the boat. Regarding the salmon, it's a dire situation. I've seen photos comparing the meat of farm raised salmon verses wild, and it's shocking to see the huge difference in meat color. What are we doing to our world?

Nancy Chan said...

I have heard about eating farm bred salmon and its deadly consequence. We wouldn't know if the fishes are farm bred unless we have been told!

Pietro Brosio said...

Interesting reading and wonderful Skywatch image!