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Weekly update March 28

Our migration down the length of Vancouver Island from April 23 – May 9 to give people the opportunity to tell Ottawa wild salmon are essential is building. People have contacted me to plan events in communities far beyond those that we are passing through. Hundreds have said they will walk portion of the trip with us and have signed the new petition at www.salmonaresacred.org <http://www.salmonaresacred.org> Unless every person who cares about wild salmon stands up and becomes visible to Ottawa this will not succeed in bringing reason to this situation. You can download posters on the website. This is not about getting rid of aquaculture, this is about bringing three runaway Norwegian companies into compliance with the laws every other fishery in Canada respects.

Salmon farms were exempted from the fishing regulations of Canada in 1993 and these Norwegian companies are lobbying our Members of Parliament to continue these exemptions when they become federally regulated in December. If they succeed we can give up, they will once again be outside the law.

We cannot possibly manage Canada’s wild fish sustainably, if one group is allowed unlimited by-catch of wild herring, wild salmon, rock cod, black cod and other species in their nets. We cannot have one set of rules that says no fishing with bright lights and then allow fish farms on every major migration route to use these lights, attracting millions of wild fish to their farms. Scientists studying sockeye don’t know what is causing our Fraser sockeye to inexplicably crash, even when cutting back fishing to near zero has not helped. Only the south coast sockeye that migrate past 60 salmon farm sites vanished. These Norwegian fish farmers cannot be allowed to keep their disease outbreaks on the Fraser migration route secret any longer. Highly mechanized fish farms will never replace the wild salmon jobs in fishing and tourism, nor can they feed us as wild salmon do.

The tide is turning because of all of you. We will support the small communities we live in to build land-based aquaculture. Small independent businesses are much more stable than large foreign operators that come and go based on world markets. – please read the good news below and thank you. http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/

The Strathcona Regional District has defeated the zoning bylaw for the huge proposed Grieg Seafood fish farm at Gunner Pt.

"Controversial fish farm site rezoning defeated" (The Courier-Islander, 24th March
http://www2.canada.com/courierislander/news/story.html?id=f143b9f8-b499-4158-ba3d-b28708d66283 <http://www2.canada.com/courierislander/news/story.html?id=f143b9f8-b499-4158-ba3d-b28708d66283>

Below is a very significant show of solidarity between First Nations on removing fish farms from the incredibly valuable Fraser sockeye migration route. Scientists who specialize on Fraser sockeye and gathered by Simon Fraser University also made this recommendation.

Date: March 11, 2010
During the March 9-10, 2010 inaugural AGA of the Intertribal Treaty Organization (ITO) held in Prince George, attending Chiefs voted unanimously to support Indigenous Nations of the Broughton Archipelago and Georgia Straits for the immediate removal of fish farms from their territories to support in the survival of Fraser River bound fish stocks.
The member Chiefs of the ITO expressed their concern and support to urge the open net cage practices of the aquaculture industry to move toward closed containment. As the coming season and runs of Chums and Pinks draws near the Chiefs call for alternative aquaculture procedures recognizing the economic gains ventured by some coastal Nations. The concern is for the smolts that will arrive soon; Sockeye, Coho and Chinook. There is an increased mortality rate as they pass through the fish farm congested and bio-chemically hazardous inside passage which was cited as the primary cause of reduced returning stocks.

Lawrence Williams of the Splatsin, Secwepemc Nation, recognized the need for all to work together on this issue, “In our watershed, we are in support of that. If there could be a legal petition I could take it to the non-Native communities in our area, as well we could send that letter in to parliament supporting this, and if there could be a legal writing then I could send this through our watershed table area to the neighboring communities who could support us as well. Even though they are not First Nations they also share this responsibility for their future generations.“

Contact: Grand Chief Saul Terry, Intertribal Treaty Chair

Other Media

"Norwegian Farms Poison the Wild Run - BC's salmon stocks plunge; sea lice, salmon farms to blame" (The Dominion, 24th March): http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3273

"Critics challenge health of Canadian salmon industry" (Food Manufacturing, 24th March): http://www.foodmanufacturing.com/scripts/ShowPR~RID~14925.asp

"Groups hope for co-operation" (The Telegraph Journal, 20th March): http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/city/article/990661
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