Sunday, 28 August 2016

Watershed Watch: Cohen Commission - DFO, BC is Waiting for you to do Something. Are you there Dominic? Are you there Justin?

This document from Watershed Watch, a good BC environmental organization, has some good comments on the lack of implementation of the Cohen Commission report by DFO. Instead of composing text and taking snippets of it, I give it to you intact.

You can reach their site, as well as read this on their website, see:

And, of course, you will have caught that Alexandra Morton went along with the aboriginals from Kingcome Inlet and dipped a GoPro on a stick into a salmon net, finding sick fish, stick-fish, as in a two foot fish that was 2 inches deep, herring inside the net, herring outside the net feeding on fish feed, dying fish, fish farm fish eating wild herring. This is as bad as it gets. See the video at the link below.

Fish farms like to claim they are transparent and have no lice, diseases, and, etc., but these claims sound pretty sad when on one farm, one camera put in one net found all these things. As, in, if you did the same at all of them, it's likely you would get the same result from the transparent, no lice, no disease fish farm industry - from every farm. You will recall that the results of retail purchased fish showed 95% PRV, as in HSMI disease.

Go see the Gopro video of the 'transaperent, lice free, disease free, fish farm industry: 
You will wonder how DFO can justify something this bad, that is so obviously diseased and needs to be out of the water. You will come away feeling that the Liberals have no environmental bone in their policies. 

Do go to Watershed Watch and enjoy their take on wild salmon and BC:

Resource: “Business as Usual”: a critique of federal update on Cohen

Filed In: , , . Posted by Ian Hinkle on


The Cohen Inquiry was the largest investigation of wild salmon management in Canadian history, spurred by the devastating Fraser sockeye collapse in 2009. It cost taxpayers over $37 million and produced 75 recommendations widely recognized as critical to restoring and protecting wild salmon for future generations. Justice Bruce Cohen’s recommendations cover habitat protection, salmon farming risks, hatchery management, fishery management, government accountability, and more. As you would expect from a Supreme Court judge, the recommendations are pragmatic and thoughtful.
The final report was tabled more than 3 years ago. We immediately started tracking government’s progress in implementing the recommendations with our Cohen Report Card. Progress has been slow, with most of the recommendations not implemented. That’s why so many of us were thrilled when Prime Minister Trudeau promised to implement the recommendations in his mandate letter to the Minister of Fisheries.  
In August 2016, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made his first trip to the west coast since taking the helm at DFO. He held a press conference in Vancouver to provide a progress report on his government’s commitment to acting on the recommendations of the Cohen Inquiry.


We commend Minister LeBlanc for providing an update implementing the 2012 Cohen Commission recommendations; it was an important show of transparency. We also commend Minister LeBlanc and the federal government for explicitly making implementation a priority. But let’s not forget that the Cohen Commission was primarily investigating DFO’s track record of managing wild salmon, so we cannot  expect an independent assessment to come from the agency (DFO) that was under investigation.

Although the federal government has changed since the Cohen Commission, the bureaucracy which spurred the investigation is still comprised of many of the same people, doing things the same way. This may be why Justice Cohen penned the 75th and last recommendation, which calls for a government-independent public update on the implementation status. This important recommendation has not yet been fulfilled.

After examining DFO’s update, we think it paints an overly rosy and vague picture of implementation without much evidence or detail. In some cases we believe DFO has not followed the intent of Justice Cohen’s recommendations. And many of the “actions” were taken under the previous government, so there wasn’t much that was actually new.

Here, we provide a few examples of the good and the bad on DFO’s update.

The Good

  • DFO is publicly taking the initiative to talk about the Cohen Commission. recommendations, something lacking in recent years.
  • Recognition that Cohen recommendations apply to BC salmon broadly, not just Fraser River sockeye.

The Bad

  • A biased update of many activities that are “dressed-up” as action taken on the Cohen recommendations.
  • Unnecessary and poorly justified delays on habitat-related recommendations.
  • DFO suggests it is devising a plan to implement the Wild Salmon Policy. However, the Wild Salmon Policy is a detailed implementation plan to restore and conserve BC’s salmon! There is no justifiable need for DFO to write a new implementation plan for the widely supported policy. If DFO is allowed to rewrite the Wild Salmon Policy we have no doubt that they will water it down, reducing it to another “guidelines” document without teeth and rigour.  


  • Justice Cohen recognized the value of the Wild Salmon Policy in providing specific guidance on how to restore and conserve BC’s salmon. He also understood that the Policy allowed First Nations, stakeholders, and the public to measure DFO’s performance in conserving wild salmon. He didn’t critique the Wild Salmon Policy or recommend it be re-written. Instead, he directed 8 of the first 10 recommendations towards implementing it, and ended his report by stating DFO’s performance on implementing the Policy should be reviewed by an independent body and reported publicly. This is absolutely crucial.


  • #4 DFO has not hired an Associate Regional Director to champion the Policy’s implementation. We see no evidence of “a strengthened governance and oversight regime at the senior management level.” This is an important recommendation intended to make DFO accountable for implementing the Policy.
  • #5 No implementation plan for the Wild Salmon Policy has been published and DFO says “the Policy will be implemented through existing DFO programs.” Unfortunately, we’re concerned this means business as usual. Worse, they are using this recommendation as a Trojan Horse to re-write the implementation plan that is embedded in the Wild Salmon Policy and undoubtedly water it down. The only intelligible reason given for changing the Policy is to “align it with changed legislation”, by which they mean the changes made to the Fisheries Act by the Harper government when they gutted the Act’s habitat protection provisions. This government has promised to “restore lost protections” to the Act. Therefore, changing the Wild Salmon Policy to align with the gutted Fisheries Act is preposterous.
  • #6 No details are provided on properly funding the Wild Salmon Policy. DFO provides no concrete evidence the Policy will be a priority.  


  • #3 deals with the concern that DFO’s salmon farming promotional mandate is impeding its ability to protect wild salmon, in part because the industry may be a threat to wild stocks. However, Minister Leblanc publicly dismissed this concern. The Cohen Commission wasn’t the only high-profile body to highlight this conflict of interest within DFO. In 2012, the Royal Society of Canada commissioned a report (Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity) which identified a similar concern. Given this recommendation has not been implemented, we question the integrity of DFO’s updates on all recommendations related to salmon farming.



  • Justice Cohen highlighted salmon farms as a risk to wild salmon and articulated 10 recommendations dealing with farm management and 1 dealing with DFO’s problematic promotion of the industry.
  • Unfortunately, many of DFO’s responses on salmon farming are questionable.


  • #15, 16 & 17 deal with the development of siting criteria for salmon farms (i.e., where farms should be located), so they explicitly integrate wild salmon migration routes, new science through a scientific peer-review process, and the involvement of stakeholders and First Nations. After these siting criteria are developed, Cohen states that existing farms that don’t comply with these criteria should be removed.
  • Watershed Watch and other NGOs were provided with DFO’s attempt at a draft siting criteria document last yearit was seriously flawed and lacking a scientific basis, without reference to a single scientific study. DFO referred to these criteria as “guidelines” which implies they are not mandatory or enforceable. To date, not one farm has been removed due to these new criteria, yet DFO considers these three recommendations “complete.”
  • See our letter to DFO regarding their proposed siting guidelines.


  • Several recommendations deal with obtaining accurate assessments and data on salmon stock size. This is critical monitoring information needed to properly assess and manage the health and status of Fraser sockeye stocks. Although DFO communicates that $197 million will be spent over five years to increase ocean and freshwater science, including monitoring and research on Pacific salmon, surprisingly, many recommendations that involve monitoring are marked as not implemented with no assurance they will be. Is this an indication of DFO’s true commitment to wild salmon?  


  • #28 deals with contributing to the Pacific Salmon Commission’s test-fishing program so it is capable of operating at 2010 levels. This allows a robust assessment of incoming stock size. Despite pronouncements of funding for monitoring, DFO provides no certainty that funding will facilitate this key recommendation.
  • #29 deals with maintaining hydroacoustic monitoring along the river at Mission and Qualark so they operate at 2010 levels. Again, DFO provides no commitment that this will be implemented.  
  • #32 & 33 deal with funding robust monitoring of juvenile sockeye salmon, which is key information in assessing the early lifecycle stages of salmon. Again, DFO admits they are not implementing these key recommendations. This raises the question about where all the monitoring money they quoted is going?


Justice Cohen reinforced the need for conserving existing habitat and restoring damaged habitat, and he emphasized that habitat is key to salmon recovery. While this government has promised it will restore lost protections to the Fisheries Act, it has yet to do so.


  • #41 & 42 deal with the implementation of the the 1986 Habitat Policy, establishing a detailed plan to increase productive capacity of Fraser River sockeye habitat.
  • DFO’s update calls these recommendations “Out of Date” but these recommendations are still relevant to protect habitat needed for salmon recovery.

Minister LeBlanc’s announcement was a small step in the right direction, but it is clear that he will need to take a firm hand with DFO if he expects them to deliver on the Cohen recommendations. Consultation, obfuscation, delays, and watering down the Wild Salmon Policy—while merely reporting on the partial implementation of recommendations made by a previous government—are not going to cut it.

There, you have it, DFO's, Dominic LeBlanc's, Justin Trudeaus lack of action is just not going to cut it.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Post 2: Forage Fish - Fish Farm Feed Stats

See the previous post for this fish feed series:

This post is about trying to quantify just how responsible fish farms are for fishing down feed fish that should go to feeding third world humans rather than food for fish sold to first world mouths. Examples, are the Jack Mackerel decline off Chile, and now, the decline of anchovy off Peru, a story that is current in 2016. Look at my post on Fish Farm Bad News Bites: I found 600 bad news stories in the global press from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016. Hard to believe.

Here is the graph of decline of Jack Mackerel, at its peak some 100M MT caught per year off Chile:

Since the Bad News Bites 2015 to 2016 post, my 2016 post includes more than 100 negative global news stories about the fish farm/seafood industry, in one month, no less:

Now, in this, I consider the results of the Sea Around Us study:

Their work will allow me to quantify just what the Norwegian-style fish farms, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood are responsible for killing ocean forage fish to feed to fish farm fish. This is the issue of sustainability. I aim to quantify how much blame they deserve.

Here is some lead in text: 

"In 2016, members of Sea Around Us, using reconstructed global catch data that combine officially reported landings data with comprehensive estimates of unreported landings and discards, documented that, from 1950-2010, global catches were around 50% higher than reported data suggest. Furthermore, total catches seem to be declining faster from their peak catch in the mid-1990s than reported data would suggest. The good news is that the discrepancy between reported data and estimated total catches is decreasing in more recent years, meaning that the comprehensiveness of data reported by countries seems to be improving.
Sea Around Us also communicates to broad audiences to convey the urgency to:
  • Reduce excess fishing capacity (much of which is being ‘exported’ to developing countries).
  • Eliminate damaging subsidies and create extensive networks of marine protected areas.
  • Reconsider the current model of carnivorous aquaculture.
  • Refocus fisheries to the small-scale sectors that are crucial to national food security concerns in developing countries."
I will be reading science for the next while to give you some hard stats on the issue.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

KEY DOCUMENT: Fish Farm Diseases in BC, Updatedd Aug 28, 2016

This key document will list all the diseases in BC farmed fish that come my way. It will, like the 155 on-land fish farm document of mine, be a one-stop post for all I find on this issue.

The on-land fish farm post remains the most viewed of all my nearing 300 posts on this blog. Here is the most recent iteration of the list:

You will note that the AKVA group has had an 'explosion' of on land sales in Q2, 2016:

Like the two tipping point articles I wrote on the on-land issue in Norway and BC, I think the disease post will come to serve that function well. Disease is a constant in fish farms, around the world, from animals too close to one another and thus spreading disease, some 56 billion viral particles per hour. The Kibenge Powerpoint presentation notes that fish farm disease losses come to be one third to one half of all fish farm fish.

I should have started a disease post long ago, as it, like the bad news bites posts, will become equally as long, and equally damning on the global fish farm industry, that needs to raise a vegetarian fish and do it on land. The Bad News Bites post is here - you might be shocked:

You will recall that BC fish farms have had kudoa - MH has had great losses - furunculosis for Grieg Seafood's 'craft' Skuna Bay fish, and Cermaq having an algal bloom in Clayoquot. Then there are the past infections of IHN and IPN. And, you will recall during the Cohen Commission the several different labs that showed ISA in BC, including Are Nyland in Norway, the OIE lab for the eastern hemisphere.

And you will recall from the Cohen Commission, Dr. Kristi Miller's work on the 'viral-signature' wherein she listed the phenotypical disease problems in salmon and what they suggested were the diseases that caused them. This is a novel way of getting at the disease from the problems it causes, rather than the identification of the genetic material of a virus.

Here is the list of diseases, and the issue is that BC is the first place fish farms have come with a huge wild salmon population:

6. HSMI, Furunculosis, Disease, wild herring video, Aug 26, 2016: One GoPro, one stick, one pond on one fish farm, selected randomly. You will come away thinking the odds of such a thing are so small, on a random pick, that all fish farms are this bad:

5. The HSMI collection fish, 2013 - 2014, not only had HSMI, but the site had an algal bloom, perhaps caused by fish farm sewage, then there was a lice infection, then Slice treatment. See the Powerpoint presentation, page 6:

4. Furunculosis in BC, Grieg Seafood, Skuna Bay:

3. PRV in BC, a cause of HSMI:

2. HSMI in BC, Miller, PSF:

1. ISA in BC, the 'worst' fish farm disease - Jan 6, Virology Journal:

Jack Mackerel - Fish Farm's Buffalo - Unsustainable Industry

Jack Mackerel in Chile, South America, once existed in vast quantities, just like the buffalo did in North America. The buffalo are all gone. Now, most of the Jacks are gone, too. They formed a substantial part of the global fish meal feed for fish farms. Now the anchovy in Peru is in the same decline.

Here is a graph of the Chilean catch, and how it has declined over the years, showing that the industry is not sustainable, despite what fish farm companies may claim:

This is part of the reason that the fish farm industry has moved to wanting plant-based feed for its salmon. The downward curve is indicative of other fish-based protein sources and oils. And the industry is now fishing down the krill in the Antarctic, even below fish in the food chain, but perhaps the most important feed in that ocean, particularly for mammals, baleen whales for example.

Some more background:

"In Chile, a small number of wealthy families own 87% of the jack mackerel harvest. With government agreement, they have been allocated quotas which scientists say are not sustainable.[13] In 2012, a heated dispute developed between Peru and Chile over the fishing of the mackerel.[3][14] Attempts have been made since 2006 to empower the South Pacific Regional Management Organisation so it can effectively regulate the jack mackerel industry on the high seas and across national boundaries. Geopolitical rivalries and lack of international cooperation is preventing this.[4] In an interview with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the French marine biologist Daniel Pauly compared jack mackerels to American bison, whose populations also collapsed in the 19th century from overhunting: "This is the last of the buffaloes. When they’re gone, everything will be gone ... This is the closing of the frontier."[4]

Chilean jack mackerels are canned or marketed fresh for human consumption;[2] they are a staple food in Africa. They are also processed into fishmeal, which is fed to swine and salmon; five kilograms of jack mackerel are needed to raise one kilogram of farmed salmon.[4]"

The answer is to raise vegetarian fish, like tilapia, and to raise them on land.

AKVA - On-land Fish Farm Sales 'Exploding' Trond Williksen, CEO

AKVA, Norway, sells on-land fish farm components. It's Q2 results are the best ever and it says on-land sales are exploding. This means the rest of the world is putting nails in the coffin of fish farms that remain in the water, such as Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood.

See its Q2 results:

Here is the beginning of their text: 'AKVA group is on track and has completed the second quarter with good overall performance. Revenue in second quarter 2016 ended on 408 MNOK (402 MNOK) with an EBITDA of 43 MNOK (41 MNOK). Second quarter EBITDA margin was 10.4% (10.2%). With the exception of Americas, all business segments and regions are performing well in the second quarter. AKVA group is ending the quarter with the highest order backlog ever of 822 MNOK.

"AKVA group continues to be on track and has completed the best second quarter and first half ever with regards of revenue, EBITDA and order backlog. The resent year's transformation of AKVA group to become a better performing and more diversified Group is reflected in the Q2 results. Operationally and financially AKVA group is well positioned for further growth. The half yearly dividend of 0.75 NOK per share to be paid out in Q3 underlines our solid financial position", says CEO of AKVA group ASA Trond Williksen.'"

From the financials about its global operations, it is clear that on-land is doing the best. This is further proof that the rest of the world, not tied to Norwegian-style fish farms in the ocean, is moving ahead with on-land production close to markets.

Here is their specific note: 'Land Based Technology (LBT). LBT have had a significant improved performance year on year in Q2. Both Plastsveis AS and Aquatec Solutions A/S had a good first half of 2016. AKVA group Denmark A/S had another decent quarter, but there is still potential for further improvements financially. The land based segment ended the quarter with a record high order backlog and has after Q2 2016 53% of the total order backlog in the Group. Land based increased its revenues year on year with 74% and was 23% of total revenues in Q2 2016, hence land based is becoming a significant part of AKVA group. '

Do note that AKVA also sells in-ocean components, and is developing sub-sea farms, something that oceans and humanity do not want to see.

In their outlook, they note that the Canadian market has been off and will be moderate going forward, meaning, we need to start buying on-land. The public in Canada is against in-ocean fish farms and wants them on land.

In a nutshell, AKVA is a technology and service partner to the aquaculture industry worldwide. The company has around 750 employees, offices in 8 countries and a total turnover of NOK 1.4 billion in 2015.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Finally: First Nations Tell Norwegian Fish Farms to Get out of their Territory - Broughton Archipelago, Updated Aug 29, 2016

Go look at the video. Cermaq, Marine Harvest, Grieg Seafood, Norwegians have been told to get out of the water. Thank God, some people have sense, and the clout to get DFO in line. Since Burnt Church, DFO has been afraid of aboriginals.

Here is the video link:

BC First Nation chiefs, Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw, will no longer allow the 'ecological trainwreck' fish farms in their territory.

This is the most significant step forward in the long process of BC rebuilding our wild Pacific salmon.

Please note that the 'ecological trainwreck'  quote is not mine, but from the most significant conference on fish farm environmental damage in Norway of Canadians, Europeans and so on. The link for that is at this address, and is worth reading:

The people of BC stand behind First Nations in their decision and resolve. Please consider giving them a donation for their expenses:

Here is a link to the study showing that salmon have declined 50% since fish farms set up shop . This is around the world:

Here is a video of the RCMP talking with the First Nations involved in the eviction, Aug 18, regarding their further actions:

And Aug 18, the Musgamagw, cleansed a fish farm, and stated this: 'We, the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw view the destruction of wild fish by the fish farming industry as part of the long history of genocide forced on our people by the governments of Canada. Salmon are essential to our well-being and the well-being of our world.'

In other words, fish farms are in the same class as the residential schools where generations of aboriginals were neutralized from their culture.

See: Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

Look at the fish farm fish in this video:

Salmon Diversity Important to First Nation Food Supply - WCEL, Watershed Watch

A recent study from BC  shows that diversity of stock sub-components, in other words, genetic gene pools in BC rivers are important to longterm food supply for First Nations:

'A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific salmon fisheries underpin Indigenous food security” published by SFU researchers Holly Nesbitt and Dr. Jonathan Moore, is a fantastic example. It’s good timing for the publication of this new science, too, as the findings will be valuable for the newly started review of the Fisheries Act.'

This is a link to the study summary:

The point in the study is that runs of salmon are composed of stocks within the run and it is the genetic diversity of the many stocks that is important to conserving salmon.

West Coast Environmental Law has done an analysis of the laws governing fish and habitat, that were systematically weakened by the Harper government. For a good read of their work, see:

Here is a key paragraph: 'As WCEL has been warning since 2012, amendments made to the Fisheries Act significantly weakened habitat protection provisions under the Act. As the current federal government works to restore and strengthen habitat protection, potential amendments to the Act could include a focus on protecting habitat for sub-species that may not be currently given high priority, but that are vital for ensuring healthy runs. See our brief Scaling Up the Fisheries Act for other ideas for amendments.'

In other words, habitat protection and restoration are key to maintaining salmon. The other major influences on salmon are: DFO itself, fish farms and climate change.

The WCEL brief has this to say:  'DFO’s Wild Salmon Policy (formally known as “Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon”) has as its first objective to “[s]afeguard the genetic diversity of wild Pacific salmon.” In addition, the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Canada is a signatory, has “the conservation of biological diversity” as its core objective. We need to take these legal commitments seriously to stem the alarming loss of biodiversity.'

Maintaining biological diversity is a reason for getting fish farms out of BC water because they indiscriminately affect all runs.

Here is an analysis by Watershed Watch. It is worth reading: