Mas­sive salmon es­cape a les­son for us all

The Compass - - Editorial - Bill Bryden writes from Lums­den

A Cooke Aqua­cul­ture open-net pen hold­ing 305,000 farmed salmon re­cently im­ploded near Cy­press Is­land, near Seat­tle, Wash., re­leas­ing all th­ese dis­eased fish into Pa­cific wa­ters. High tides from the so­lar eclipse played a role in this catas­tro­phe.

Over here on the East Coast, a sim­i­lar dis­as­ter will very likely also hap­pen. If tides can cause a met­al­re­in­forced open net pen site to col­lapse, what will the sea ice and ice­bergs that fre­quent Pla­cen­tia Bay do to the even less rig­or­ously struc­tured pens which Grieg NL has plans to use in that sen­si­tive bay?

How is it that, de­spite all the ev­i­dence, Pre­mier Dwight Ball and his En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, to­gether with his team of MHAs, con­sid­ers the open-net gig ac­cept­able in to­day’s so­ci­ety? Morally, they are say­ing that quick cash and high prof­its at the pub­lic and en­vi­ron­ment’s ex­pense is the best “Way For­ward”! With all due re­spect, pre­mier, this is a no-brainer.

How is it that a gov­ern­ment elected to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of all New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans becomes a group of feed­lot apol­o­gists and guardians? Do you se­ri­ously be­lieve that a ma­jor­ity of us elected you to use our scarce tax dol­lars to sub­si­dize, com­pen­sate and pro­mote for­eign in­va­sion of our pris­tine wa­ters?

Does it not con­cern any of our elected of­fi­cials that pes­ti­cides are key to their sur­vival, and that es­capes such as this com­pro­mise the ge­netic pu­rity of the en­tire wild salmon pop­u­la­tion?

In case you are not keep­ing track, the Cana­dian Food In­spec­tion Agency has now con­firmed 12 new cases of in­fec­tious salmon ane­mia virus from Jan­uary to July (only seven of the 12 months of 2017). No one knows what th­ese strains (all freshly mu­tated), are do­ing to our wild stocks of salmonids, her­ring, caplin, cod, lump­fish, etc.

As one in­dus­try watcher has stated, I have yet to hear any le­git­i­mate good news come out of an open-net pen.

The new fed­eral New Demo­cratic Party fish­eries critic, Fin Don­nelly, also re­cently issued a state­ment say­ing he is “alarmed to hear thou­sands of farmed At­lantic salmon have es­caped into our Pa­cific wa­ters. Th­ese events un­der­score the need for manda­tory land-based, closed con­tain­ment fish farms in order to pro­tect our wild salmon fish­ery and the in­tegrity of the marine en­vi­ron­ment.”

It’s time we got out of this racket. Please turn a cor­ner and ex­er­cise your reg­u­la­tory hand and make this in­dus­try ma­ture and shift to land-based closed con­tain­ment. Oth­er­wise, you are in a con­flict of in­ter­est pro­tect­ing this ocean mad­ness and a vec­tor for the demise of our wild re­sources!

The next vis­i­ble so­lar eclipse in Canada will take place in 2024 what ex­cuses will this out­dated in­dus­try use be­tween then and now to cover up their coastal catas­tro­phes that will come more fre­quently than eclipses?

How is it that, de­spite all the ev­i­dence, Pre­mier Dwight Ball and his En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, to­gether with his team of MHAs, con­sid­ers the open­net gig ac­cept­able in to­day’s so­ci­ety?

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