18 July, 2012The Honourable Christy ClarkPremier of British ColumbiaBox 9041, Stn PROV GOVTVictoria, BC V8W 9E1
Re: Application for a new salmon farm tenure at Plover Point, Meares Island,Clayoquot Sound, Land File # 141355
Dear Premier Clark,
We are writing today to express concerns over the proposed new salmon farm at Plover Point in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The proponent for this application, Mainstream Canada, is applying for a 55-hectare salmon farm tenure on the shores of Meares Island, near Plover Point.Wild salmon in the region are in serious trouble. Despite the abundance of pristine salmon habitat, Clayoquot's salmon runs (especially the Chinook) are in dramatic decline, with some runs now being counted in the tens, rather than in the tens of thousands. Clayoquot Sound already has 20 salmon farm sites. No wild salmon population anywhere in the world has thrived in close proximity to salmon farms.
In May of this year, Mainstream reported an outbreak of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis virus (IHN) on one of their open net-cage salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound. The fish from this farm, numbering 560,000 were destroyed. Another Mainstream farm showed a weak positive. These fish were harvested for market. IHN is endemic to wild Pacific fish, and at low concentrations is not deadly to them. However salmon farms amplify diseases like this, much like in a crowded hospital, and pathogens that are normally not an issue can become deadly.Dr. Kristi Miller, Head of the Molecular Genetics section at the Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), reported Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv) positive test results in 2 other Clayoquot Sound salmon farms last year. While not confirmed by further testing, this should be done before another farm is approved.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began a two-year, coast-wide surveillance program this spring to get a more complete picture of the ISAv, IHN, and infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) situation in British Columbia’s wild salmon. All of these diseases are highly contagious and can cause mortality in wild and farmed salmon.Furthermore the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River (Cohen Commission) is scheduled to release its findings September 30. Justice Cohen's recommendations may well affect how salmon farming is conducted in B.C.For these reasons and more, we the undersigned respectfully request that the Province decide not to issue the seabed lease for Plover Point, at least until the CFIA has completed its study and the recommendations of the Cohen Commission have been incorporated into management regimes.We look forward to hearing your response at your earliest convenience.Respectfully,Bonny Glambeck, Friends of Clayoquot SoundTerry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht First NationsSarah King, Greenpeace CanadaWill Soltau, Living Oceans SocietyRuby Berry, Georgia Strait AllianceTorrance Coste, Wilderness CommitteeDavid Lane, T. Buck Suzuki FoundationJohn Werring, David Suzuki Foundationcc: Adrian Dix, NDP Leader of the Official OppositionThe Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans