BC Press Release
September 15, 1997
A new alliance between B.C. First Nations, coastal community individuals, and Environmental organizations has been formed to address the dangers posed by salmon aquaculture operations.
On August 26, 1997 the Environmental Assessment Office delivered the results of its Review on Salmon Aquaculture, along with its recommendations to the Ministers.
In response to that report, the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council hosted a meeting in Campbell River on Friday, September 12, 1997. At this meeting, people from up and down the coast, and the Interior joined in common cause to express their resolve on how to deal with this issue. This alliance wants the moratorium of salmon farming maintained until safe, closed loop containment systems replace the existing 80 open net cage systems and interim measures Agreements or Treaties regarding fisheries are in place for B.C.'s coastal First Nations.
Karen Wristen, a lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund and a member of the Salmon Aquaculture Review Committee, who has thoroughly analyzed the Environmental Assessment Office 1800 page report has confirmed that " the lack of science is so apparent that it supports maintaining the moratorium until real solutions are found."
Chief Robert Joseph, who chaired the meeting, said "We have no confidence that the regulatory changes suggested in the Aquaculture Review recommendations will address the devastating effect these fish farms have on our territory and our people."
Jim Fulton, the Executive Director of the David Suzuki Foundation said," Implementing these recommendations would force BC taxpayers to pay millions for a new salmon farming bureaucracy. Instead, we call on Ottawa and Victoria to regulate for safety but with a user-pay policy. We need to shift technology from open to closed pen design which would eliminate the risk of disease transfer from farmed fish to dwindling wild stocks, treat sewage and therefore prevent antibiotic-rich feces from poisoning the ocean, and minimize the use of dangerous drugs."
" This new alliance of First Nations, Environmental organizations and concerned individuals provides a clear direction to governments on this troublesome issue," concluded Chief Joseph.
A steering committee was formed to continue the work of Friday's meeting.
- Chief Robert Joseph, Musgamagw Tsawataineul Tribal Council,
Telephone 1-888-287-2955 or (250)974-5516 or toll free 1-800-244-0969
- Karen Wristen, Sierra Legal Defence Fund (416) 368-7533
- Richard Watts, Nuu-Chah- Nulth Tribal Council (250) 724-5757
- Jim Fulton, The David Suzuki Foundation (604) 732-4228
FULL TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION WHICH WAS PASSED PLUS A LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED FOLLOWS:
Whereas, the natural wild salmon of the Pacific Northwest are a sacred resource of all Canadians that deserve protection and conservation;
Whereas, the First Nations of British Columbia have relied upon the fisheries and pristine coastal waters since time immemorial as a source of food and cornerstone of culture;
Whereas, Canada and British Columbia recognize and affirm the constitutional rights of First Nations to fish, second only to conservation;
Whereas, the Salmon Aquaculture Review lists 1800 pages of problems associated with open salmon net cages and 49 recommendations that are Band-Aids for the problems but are not a solution;
THEREFORE the following First Nations, Environmental organizations, and individuals call upon Canada and B.C. to maintain the moratorium on salmon farming in B.C. waters until:
1. safe closed loop containment systems replace the existing 80 open net cage systems, and
2.Interim Measures Agreements or Treaties regarding fisheries resources are in place for B.C.'s coastal First Nations.
Musgamagw Tswataineuk Tribal Council
Kwa-wa-aineuk First Nation
Kwicksutaineuk First Nation
Tsawataineuk First Nation
'Namgis First Nation
Kwakiutl District Council
Nuu-Chau- Nulth Tribal Council
Ahousat First Nation
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation
Heilstuk First Nation
Kitkatla First Nation
Whe-la-la-U Area Council
BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission
Nicola Valley Watershed Fisheries
Kwakiutl Territorial Fisheries Commission
Comox Strathcona Regional District
Electoral Area "A" Mount Waddington Regional District
David Suzuki Foundation
Sierra Legal Defence Fund
Georgia Strait Alliance
Alberni Environmental Coalition
Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Sierra Club of BC
Wild Fish First Society
Western Canada Wilderness Committee
Concerned Sointula residents
Concerned Port Alberni residents
NetPets® Main Page
The Fish Center