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Two years later: Why is Fisheries and Oceans Canada still ignoring the $37 million Cohen Commission?

Wednesday, October 29th 2014 12:00:44pm

Interview Opportunity

October 31, 2014 marks the two year anniversary of the release of the Cohen Commission’s final report: The Uncertain Future of the Fraser River Sockeye

What: Alexandra Morton, British Columbia based independent biologist and wild salmon advocate, can comment on the following:

Pending changes to federal Fisheries Act regulations:
  • The pending changes to the Fisheries Act (consultation closed last week) regulations that advance the concept of killing wild salmon to protect caged fish.
  • Proposed regulations for the aquaculture industry do not deliver on the responsibilities of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to protect wild fish, fish habitat and Canadian fishery waters from the negative impacts of aquaculture.
  • The proposed regulation re-assigns as a DFO priority, the conservation and protection of the wild fishery to another agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), allowing the President of the CFIA to decide to kill wild fish and authorize deposit of deleterious substances outside aquaculture facilities.

The Federal government’s continuous support of siting more salmon farms in BC despite, little attention being given to important Cohen Commission recommendations such as:
  • Recommendation #15: The DFO should explicitly consider proximity to migrating Fraser River sockeye when siting salmon farms.
  • Recommendation #17: The DFO should apply revised siting criteria to all licensed salmon farm sites. Farms that no longer comply with siting criteria should be promptly removed or relocated to sites that comply with current siting criteria.

The Cohen Commission report made 75 recommendations to protect wild salmon, eleven of which directly refer specifically to salmon farming. So far, no positive action has been taken on these salmon farm related recommendations. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that the recommendations are being ignored.

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To schedule interviews, please contact:
Maria Leung, Environmental Communication Options at 416-972-7401 (office), 416-829-5932 (cell) or mleung@ecostrategy.ca.

Alexandra Morton at 250-974-7086.

Alexandra Morton is the founder of the Department of Wild Salmon. The Department of Wild Salmon links together the experience and knowledge of hundreds of salmon groups, First Nations, university departments and labs. It uses on the ground real-time information and cutting edge science to pinpoint the problems and empower communities to manage the impacts on wild salmon from a local level with a province-wide perspective, keeping each group financially independent.