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

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Canadian Federation of University Women Nanaimo members Wendy Smiley, left, Karen Skarpnes, storyteller Margaret Murphy, CFUW-Nanaimo president Jeri Manley and club treasurer Kathy Torhjelm gather in recognition of the club’s 75th anniversary. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo chapter of Canadian Federation of University Women celebrates 75th anniversary

Group gathered via Zoom earlier this month to recall its history in the area

Police hope the public can help find Hailey St. Claire who has been missing since Tuesday. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo woman reported missing, police asking for public’s help

Hailey St. Claire, 28, was reported missing Tuesday

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, Jason Klughart, 28, was arrested at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at Port Place Shopping Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
RCMP officer and security guard team up to detain suspect after chase in downtown Nanaimo

Jason Klughart arrested on outstanding warrant for possession of stolen property

Nanaimo RCMP and public health inspectors will be out looking for homes and businesses violating provincial health orders Saturday, Oct. 31. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP hope for Halloween safety and COVID-19 safety this weekend

Police and public health officers will be patrolling for households violating COVID-19 restrictions

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read