A demonstrator among 30 others wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. Quinn Bender photo

Anti-salmon farm protesters rally outside DFO offices

Opponents say farms have exceeded the threshold of minimal risks to wild salmon

Anti-salmon farm protesters rallied outside the offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24 in a show of solidarity for a coalition of First Nations and industry groups who the day prior demanded an end to salmon farming in the Discovery Islands.

Organized by Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance (WSDA) , a protest of about 30 people carrying signs, chanting, drumming and staging a die-in called out for DFO to pull the trigger on Recommendation 19 of the 2012 Cohen Commission Inquiry, which urges government to prohibit fish farming in the archipelago by Sept. 30 if the operations are proven to pose more than a minimal risk to the health of wild Fraser River sockeye salmon.

Shawn Hall, spokesperson for the B.C.’s salmon farming industry told Black Press Media, however, that it has invested heavily in delousing treatment technology as part of an integrated pest management system, and issues regular public reports on lice counts. Earlier this week, Hall said the evidence shows salmon farms have not exceeded minimal risk, and that a lot of science has gone into salmon farming since the release of the Cohen report.

READ MORE: ‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

“The bulk of it [found] that responsible salmon farming does not harm wild salmon populations. We’re confident that bar has been met.”

The $37-million Cohen Commission inquiry was launched in response to the sharp decline of Fraser River sockeye in 2009. The final report, released in 2012, listed 75 recommendations for changes in government policies and practices aimed at helping sockeye runs recover.

“There is an unprecedented, historic number of people coming together to tell the government to honour the Cohen Commission recommendation … we are here in solidarity to tell DFO to get the farms out — they have five days,” Eddie Gardner, president of WSDA said.

This year, sockeye returns to the Fraser River are expected to fall below 300,000, the lowest on record. The drop is blamed on a number of factors, including climate change, over-fishing, loss of habitat and increased predation, but both DFO and the salmon farm industry dispute claims salmon farms are contributing to the ongoing decline.

Prior to Thursday’s protest, on Sept. 25 a coalition of First Nations leaders, wilderness tourism operators, environmental NGOs, and commercial and sport fishing organizations gathered in North Vancouver to demand the federal government fulfill the conditional recommendation of the Cohen Commission, and follow through on its mandate to abolish all open-pen farms from B.C. waters by 2025.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP patch
Domestic violence on the rise in Port Alberni

COVID-19 still affecting domestic violence stats, says Alberni RCMP’s top cop

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Graham Hughes, front, who ran as an independent candidate in the B.C. provincial election, sits with half a dozen supporters in front of Our Home on Eighth shelter, where Hughes is protesting the way homelessness has been dealt with in Port Alberni, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Protesters occupy Port Alberni’s shelter

Former election candidate leads sit-in outside to protest homelessness

Josie Osborne and her campaign team watch the results roll in during B.C.’s provincial election on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Josie Osborne)
Tofino expected to wait until New Year to elect new mayor after Josie Osborne wins provincial seat

Josie Osborne is the West Coast’s new MLA and that means Tofino needs a new mayor.

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Most Read