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General · 21st July 2009
Carrie Saxifrage
Letter to Jeff Long, Strathcona Regional District
I understand that [Director] Noba [Anderson] cannot receive comments because the comment period is closed, and that people who oppose the fish farm on Quadra should send their comments to you.

I think it is urgent that the RD now consider comments from Cortes because I don't think any of us on Cortes were aware of the possibility of our RD voting for an open net fish farm. Every person I have spoken to on Cortes about the proposed fish farm has stated their surprise and strong opposition. I hope in the final decision the opposition to open net fish farms on Cortes is fully considered. I refer for your consideration comments on our community blog found at: http://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/show2193a/Go_fish. I would also like to incorporate by reference the Tyee article entitled "Good Luck BC: Morton's Cry of Despair" found at
http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/06/30/MortonsCry/ as reflective of my viewpoint.

Further, the condition of implementing closed containment pens when they are "commercially available" offers no definite protection to wild salmon runs. The fact that "commercially available" is undefined will give the GC opportunity to bring its huge resources to its definition. I think the RD will be outgunned. It seems that closed containment systems are already commercially available by some definition. Smolt are raised in them. Such a facility exists near Alert Bay. Obviously, closed pens can be commercially fabricated. I seriously doubt they will become "commercially available" as understood by the rezone condition until we say, at all levels of government, "No More Open Net Pens." We'll be amazed at how fast these things can be made at that point. I expect that availability will remain two years away until then.

Another factor that troubles me is our director's reliance on Jim Abrams' decision. He is no doubt a great Quadra Island RD, that is why he keeps getting reelected. But Quadra's interests aren't ours. Cortes has no direct economic stake in a GC fish farm. Even if it did, Jim's balancing of economy and environment rationalizes further whittling away at nature. The fulcrum of the "balance" keeps changing as wild systems get depleted and the whittling keeps on. Either we want the wild salmon and understand it will take strong action to keep them, or we want to trade a resilient wild system for an expensive fragile managed one because it means (maybe) more short term jobs. And we are willing to forgo the fishing and tourism jobs that will be crowded out, as well as the long term free food for us and other species.
I don't understand the "lice free" condition. Does that mean heavier pesticide loads?

The fish farms corporations are devastating our wild runs. It serves the farm companies' economic interest to have no wild salmon to compete with their lousy product. They will go on destroying our runs until they have absolutely no other choice. They will foot-drag in every way possible. We must expect that they will continue to act in their own economic interest at the expense of our wild salmon, and that they will not meet the RD's efforts toward salmon preservation in good faith. They have killed ecosystems all over the world. We are letting them kill ours.

The Regional District must not let this farm in the heart of our salmon ecosystem go forward.

With respect,
Carrie Saxifrage