General · 7th March 2012
We hope your visit to Canada has been a good experience. On March 8, you are traveling to Quadra Island to meet with John Duncan, MP, and representatives of First Nations that are in agreements with your salmon feedlot corporations. We appreciate that you show respect for some First Nations. However, there are other people and Nations who are not party to these deals who feel your industry is taking away something far too precious. Quadra Island is in the middle of the largest wild salmon migration route in Canada.
Because the Fraser sockeye are so essential to British Columbia, in 2009 the Canadian government called a Commission of Inquiry into the reasons for the virtual collapse of the Fraser River Sockeye. The decline began when salmon feedlots were placed around Quadra Island on the migration route.
We want you to know this inquiry revealed a government cover-up that the federal government never informed this Inquiry that ISA influenza virus was detected in Fraser sockeye in 2004. The Stó:lō Nation was not informed that 100% of Cultus sockeye tested positive for ISA virus. Last fall, we found European strain ISA virus in wild BC salmon. As you know, the Chilean ISA outbreak, which caused $2 billion in damages, was traced back to a hatchery in central Norway. ISA virus has become a problem around the world where Atlantic salmon are put in ocean net pens. We too are working to trace ISA virus back to its source. Chile did not sue the companies involved, but BC would.
Unlike in Norway, BC wild salmon are not just fished for sport. Here in BC, First Nations have rights to wild salmon. Many people depend on them for food. Salmon fuel a $1.5 billion tourism industry and an important commercial fishery. We understand the BC feedlots are your gateway into China, since China refuses Norwegian salmon and so you come to Quadra Island to protect the interests of your corporations; Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg. However, we see serious problems arising for us from your industry and we are not prepared to sacrifice wild salmon to profit Norway. We no longer trust the government John Duncan represents since we learned they hid ISA virus from a federal inquiry.
We want you to know there is one run of Fraser sockeye have not declined. They are designated BC’s first “salmon stronghold”. They are the Harrison sockeye and they migrate southward to sea via a salmon feedlot-free route. The fish are telling us what we need to know about impact of salmon feedlots in BC. We want all BC wild salmon to migrate to sea without passing your salmon feedlot sewage over their gills.
Please understand that the fight against what we see as an invasion of salmon feedlots into one of the most important wild salmon migration routes left on earth has only begun. There is no place in the world we can look to and see salmon feedlots and wild salmon co-existing. We respectfully ask that you advise your corporations to remove their fish from BC waters. The market value of feedlot salmon is so low, we are hopeful there is far more to be gained by Norway as social and environmental leaders on a planet being destroyed by corporate predation.