Subject: Remove fish farms from the Discovery Islands
Dear The Honourable Bernadette Jordan
CC: The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a promise to Canadians that his government would implement all 75 recommendations set out in the 2012 Cohen Commission final report.
Recommendation #19 states that:
On September 30, 2020, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans should prohibit net-pen salmon farming in the Discovery Islands (fish health sub-zone 3-2) unless he or she is satisfied that such farms pose at most a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon. The Minister's decision should summarize the information relied on and include detailed reasons. The decision should be published on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' website.
Despite this clear call to action from the Cohen Commission and scientific evidence demonstrating that open-net fish farms are a breeding ground for contagious diseases, viruses, and parasites that cannot be contained by the pens' nets, you've decided to keep these farms open.
But that's not all you've done.
You've also left a broad group of people, including many First Nations and coastal communities impacted by salmon farms, out of the upcoming consultation process on whether to renew open-net fish farm licenses in the Discovery Islands.
Open-net fish farming impacts every community along the coast that relies on wild salmon. It's time for the government to start taking threats to this species seriously.
With this year shaping up to be the worst for sockeye salmon in the Fraser River since tracking began in 1893, Canadians like me are expecting you to let the licenses in Discovery Islands — a major migratory path for the species — expire on December 18, 2020. Open-net fish farms do not belong in B.C.'s waters.
Wild salmon are a keystone species. They need to be protected.
I'm counting on you to not renew open-net fish farms in the Discovery Islands and demonstrate your government's commitment to protecting B.C.'s wild salmon.