A demonstrator among 30 others wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. Quinn Bender photo

A demonstrator among 30 others wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. Quinn Bender photo

Anti-salmon farm protesters rally outside DFO offices

Opponents say farms have exceeded the threshold of minimal risks to wild salmon

Anti-salmon farm protesters rallied outside the offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24 in a show of solidarity for a coalition of First Nations and industry groups who the day prior demanded an end to salmon farming in the Discovery Islands.

Organized by Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance (WSDA) , a protest of about 30 people carrying signs, chanting, drumming and staging a die-in called out for DFO to pull the trigger on Recommendation 19 of the 2012 Cohen Commission Inquiry, which urges government to prohibit fish farming in the archipelago by Sept. 30 if the operations are proven to pose more than a minimal risk to the health of wild Fraser River sockeye salmon.

Shawn Hall, spokesperson for the B.C.’s salmon farming industry told Black Press Media, however, that it has invested heavily in delousing treatment technology as part of an integrated pest management system, and issues regular public reports on lice counts. Earlier this week, Hall said the evidence shows salmon farms have not exceeded minimal risk, and that a lot of science has gone into salmon farming since the release of the Cohen report.

READ MORE: ‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

“The bulk of it [found] that responsible salmon farming does not harm wild salmon populations. We’re confident that bar has been met.”

The $37-million Cohen Commission inquiry was launched in response to the sharp decline of Fraser River sockeye in 2009. The final report, released in 2012, listed 75 recommendations for changes in government policies and practices aimed at helping sockeye runs recover.

“There is an unprecedented, historic number of people coming together to tell the government to honour the Cohen Commission recommendation … we are here in solidarity to tell DFO to get the farms out — they have five days,” Eddie Gardner, president of WSDA said.

This year, sockeye returns to the Fraser River are expected to fall below 300,000, the lowest on record. The drop is blamed on a number of factors, including climate change, over-fishing, loss of habitat and increased predation, but both DFO and the salmon farm industry dispute claims salmon farms are contributing to the ongoing decline.

Prior to Thursday’s protest, on Sept. 25 a coalition of First Nations leaders, wilderness tourism operators, environmental NGOs, and commercial and sport fishing organizations gathered in North Vancouver to demand the federal government fulfill the conditional recommendation of the Cohen Commission, and follow through on its mandate to abolish all open-pen farms from B.C. waters by 2025.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read