The response to the Cohen Report in DFO’s Ottawa is zero, but in BC it is huge. The petition against allowing any new fish farms or expansions has been signed by more than 100,000 citizens. The people of BC have spoken – get the farms out of the water. The petition is going to Christy Clark who can prevent or eliminate fish farms by refusing or eliminating leases – in only sixty days. It’s that simple.
You will know that DFO is looking at 11, er, 12 – the number keeps growing – expansions or new farms. It’s response to Cohen’s key recommendation that DFO be stripped of its conflict of interest in fish farms, and deal solely with wild fish – the 2005 Wild Salmon Policy, the 1986 Habitat Policy and a new west coast director general for bringing back Fraser sockeye – is to ignore Cohen and keep on adding fish farms to our pristine ocean.
Fish farms rankle public, provide few jobs
But 100,000 signatures is big time support for getting fish farms out of the water and sending them back to Norway – we the people of BC don’t want them. And DFO’s interest is hard to fathom. Perhaps it believes its own mantra that fish farms mean jobs and revenue. Well, its own report, put out by BC Stats, shows there is not much of either in BC, with only $61.9 million contribution to GPP from all parts of aquaculture, and only 1,700 jobs in all.
By comparison, the rest of the fishing sector – sport, processing and commercial – is ten times that size, with more than 90% of the sector’s $667.4 million toward GPP; and jobs are 87.8% of the 13,900 total. Fish farms are about 10%.
When you factor in that with wild salmon numbers down by 50% since fish farms set up shop in BC, those small number of jobs aren’t new, they simply replace jobs eliminated in other sectors. The commercial guys, for instance, are down 50% at 1400 jobs or nearly 83% of those fish farm jobs. They would like them back.
Environmental, economic cost of fish farms
It’s actually worse than it looks, and that’s pretty bad. I ferreted out there are only 795 actual jobs in fish farming. So it’s simply not true there are jobs and revenue in fish farms. It’s just not true. But don’t be mistaken, the cost to us is huge. The cost DFO doesn’t pay attention to – but we have to – is the sewage cost to our pristine ocean.
And just so you know, the industry already has in place a maximum of 280,000 metric tonnes of production. So why are they asking for more, when they have never produced more than 83,000 and could produce more than three times more than they actually do produce right now? Good question.
DFO’s fishy math
DFO’s numbers are: 83,000 annual metric tonnes of product; 19,140 metric tonnes of new fish farms; and, fish are 4.5 kg at harvest. And as we all know, the cost of treating sewage is huge. Why, in Victoria, the bill, as everyone knows is $783 million for 360,000 people. And that’s just building it.
The commonly accepted number of fish in the sewage department is: 3–10 fish equal the sewage of one human being. Hard to believe, but check it on Google. And our cost that we absorb and thus pay for, using the conservative 10 to 1 ratio, is:
1000/4.5 X 19,140 = 4.25 million/10 = .425 million human equivalents
$783/.36 = $X/.425 = $924 million.
So not only are multiplier jobs down, and the actual number of jobs is very very small, but the cost to British Columbians from expansion (when they don’t need it because they already have triple authorized more than what they produce now) is: $924 million in sewage cost alone. Do you want to pay for this?
Time to dump costly farms
My look around shows me the biggest problem encountered in treating sewage is that no one wants to pay a bean of anyone else’s sewage treatment cost. So why would we pay for fish, that aren’t even human? I don’t think so.
So, the sewage cost to our environment just for expansion, that we have to absorb, is basically a billion dollars. And we know from the 100,000 signatures on the petition to get fish farms out of the water that, obviously, no one wants to pay this sewage cost.
And then there are all the rest of the problems: exotic diseases like HSMI, ISA; killing of seals; reduction of oceans of fish that people should eat – even krill in Antarctica if you can believe it; killing wild salmon; and, chemicals in the fish. So many chemicals that the big news out of Norway the past year is that doctors and scientists are warning people not to eat farmed salmon.
Tell Christy Clark – firstname.lastname@example.org – to send farms back to Norway. We want DFO to work only on wild salmon. And let’s have the same $400 million DFO’s Gail Shea put into aquaculture on the east coast in NL and PEI spent on wild salmon here. But let’s get rid of the sewage first. No one wants to pay for anyone else’s shit. Tell Gail: Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
Watch video: Dead sponges under Cermaq/Mainstream salmon farm in Discovery Islands, BC