Tag Archives: Times Colonist

Please Protect ALL of Baynes Sound


Dear Peter Kent,

I read with interest an article in the Times Colonist about the Federal Government protecting Georgia Strait from Cordova Bay to Southern Gabriola Island and including the Saanich Inlet as a marine conservation area. While I applaud this move, I believe you should protect all of Georgia Strait.

I live in Fanny Bay, midway up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. We, the thousands of people from the Comox Valley, Denman and Hornby Islands, Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Port Alberni, Tofino and Uclulet, are gravely concerned about the proposed Raven and Bear coal mines planned for the heart of our watershed. Our chief concerns include toxins introduced to our drinking water, the destruction of a thriving and sustainable shellfish industry (which employs 600 people and generates $20 million annually), threats to the second most important Bird Area in British Columbia, highway safety on the route through the venerable Cathedral Grove on the road to Tofino, and perhaps most importantly, a major contributor (an estimated 240 million tonnes of CO2) to global warming.

I implore you to include this area as part of the marine conservation area planned for the Salish Sea. This is a beautiful and delicate ecosystem and is far too precious to be destroyed by short term and short sighted coal mines. WATER is our most precious resource. It is imperative that we leave something for our children and future generations. They are depending on us.

Canada can be a beacon of environmental conservation. I pray that our governments chose the right path. Thank you.

Lynne Wheeler
Fanny Bay, British Columbia


Environment Minister Kent targets critics in first major speech


From the Times-Colonist – Jan 28, 2011

by Linda Nguyen

TORONTO — Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent has only been on
the job for three weeks but says he’s already tired of the criticism
from people who think the government is not taking any action on the

“As an aside, just weeks into this job let me
say how especially frustrating I find the constant, critical refrain
that this government has no environment plan,” he said Friday in Toronto
during a noon-hour speech with the Economic Club of Canada.

“Not only do we have one, we are one of the very few countries that does.”

also does not need to enact any new laws to deal with the issue of
climate change or reach targets for greenhouse gas emissions, Kent told
the crowd in his first major speech since being promoted to the
high-profile portfolio earlier this month.

“What many
people don’t realize is that Environment Canada already has the legal
tools it needs to execute our plan,” said Kent, who was most recently
Foreign Affairs minister. “It requires no new legislation.”

He is the fourth environment minister to serve under the Stephen Harper government since it was elected in 2006.

Read full article


Cohen Commission Told Fish Farms Likely Contributed to Sockeye Decline!


From the Times-Colonist – Jan 20, 2011

by D.C. Reid

Two weeks ago I summarized what scientists think are the main
questions to investigate in the 2009 Fraser River sockeye collapse.
Sixty-eight experts and observers did a heavy dose of considering and
submitted their report to the Cohen Commission. They have contributed
testimony to the evidentiary hearings, too, and this column tells you
what they said, and other factors.

Among nine hypotheses, they
crunched the available science from the early 1980s up to 2010 and each
participant opined which he/she thought were likely causes. They found
that where the fry were hatched and resided for two years and then
swam all the way down the Fraser River were unlikely to have produced
the massive kill. In 2007, for instance, the Georgia Strait sockeye
seine found only 157 fry from the huge Chilko River area cohort of 139
million fry that started out. And, surprisingly, millions of fry,
particularly the Harrison, take up residence in the Fraser plume, and
so its entire Lower Mainland contaminants don’t kill sockeye.

the ocean, it turns out that it is unlikely that marine mammals ate
them all, even though they snack on chum at the Puntledge River
estuary. Nor did unauthorized fishing outside our 320-kilometre
territorial waters account for losses. Later, up-river migration of
adults — as much as 600 kilometres — seems not to have killed many
returning adults either, nor affected the health of the next year’s fry
they spawned.

So what did they find? The most likely causes are:
marine and freshwater pathogens like viruses, bacteria and sea lice;
ocean conditions and a huge negative algal bloom inside Georgia Strait;
outside waters were ruled out for 2007-2009. Georgia Strait
conditions of algae, oxygen, salinity, acidity or other physical and
biological conditions are seen to have long-term negative effects on
survivability, though these conditions are not prevalent every year.
And this may help explain the 2010 bumper crop that no one expected;
and why Harrison River sockeye that transit Juan de Fuca have been
growing in numbers steadily for the past 20 years, contrary to the

Though the scientists thought pathogens were a big
negative factor, more science is needed to absolutely nail these down.
But it seems to be — wait for it — fish farm issues, say, sea lice,
and viruses. Environmentalist Alexandra Morton has asked the commission
to compel the farms to release data that they have been withholding.
It is the virus situation that is the nightmare scenario: farmed
Chinook salmon likely passed a salmon leukemia retrovirus to the farmed
Atlantics and they infected the returning sockeye adults. This is DFO
research from Dr. Kristina Miller. The sockeye managed the long swim
upstream only to die prior to spawning.

Another scientist,
Michael Kent, studying viral transmission, reviewed work that has shown
this fast mutating bug can infect dogs, sheep and humans. This is the
nightmare. Make sure you cook your Fraser sockeye well, and send a
letter to Gail Shea saying: fund more of Miller’s research, toute de

This is a fascinating, heavy crunching science report. If
you read only one table in your investigation of this issue, let it be
E-2. This table summarizes all the research for or against a possible
explanation and will inform your understanding of salmon science for
the rest of your fishing days:

Read article at TimesColonist.com


The people have spoken: Put fish farms on land and in closed containment


Article by D.C. Reid in the Victoria Times Colonist. “The people of B.C. have done it again. They canoed down the Fraser River from our city of Hope for sockeye salmon. And in a torrential monsoon, hundreds more stood out in Vancouver and shivered on the on-foot migration to the Cohen Commission that is looking into the disaster of last year’s Fraser sockeye run.”
Read article


Farmed salmon fail organic test


Letter to the editor by Chris Genovali of the Raincoast Consaervation Society in the Times Colonist.

“the B.C. fish farm industry relies on the application of the agricultural drug Slice to address chronic sea lice outbreaks.

“Emamectin benzoate is the active ingredient in Slice, which is administered in feed. The use of Slice is a concern to scientists like David Carpenter, professor at the environmental health and toxicology division at the University of Albany in New York. Carpenter has said that ’emamectin is one of a class of drugs known to block a major inhibitory neural transmitter in the brain. Animal studies have demonstrated exposure to this chemical during development causes changes in behaviour and growth as well as pathological changes in the brain.'”

Read letter