Alex Morton Launches Petition

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by canoecat, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. canoecat

    canoecat Paddler

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    Alexandra Morton has started a petition campaign to urge both levels of government to enforce the recent BC Supreme Court decision re jurisdiction of salmon farms.

    Those of you who have paddled the Broughtons know the issue all too well and we are all fortunate that she is so willing to keep up the effort. The fishing community in Sointula is one of many affected by the decline in salmon stocks.

    I am posting the link to the petition below because I have read so much intelligent discussion on this topic, at this website in a couple of other threads and thought many of you would be interested.

    Click Here To Sign Alex Morton’s Petition: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cEkxX3p3MGFBbWNVVGNVU3lxQnBwQmc6MA
    Hope the link works

    The following is a copy of the letter at the petition site. The petition is an interactive form at the above site.

    Petition to Protect Wild Salmon written by Alexandra Morton
    To: The Fisheries Minister The Honourable Gail Shea and
    Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia

    Wild salmon are the backbone of the BC Coast. On February 9, 2009
    BC Supreme Court ruled that salmon farms are a fishery and a federal responsibility.

    The science is in. The feedlot fishery is damaging wild salmon stocks worldwide (Ford and Myers 2008). Fraser sockeye and all southcoast BC salmon and steelhead are now at risk as a result of the Provincial policy of allowing the feedlot fishery to use Canada's most valuable wild salmon habitat .

    We the undersigned demand that Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    apply the Fisheries Act to this industry and immediately:

    − Place observers during feedlot salmon harvest to assess unlawful by-catch;

    − Examine feedlot salmon as they are cleaned for presence of wild fish in their digestive tract;

    − Licence vessels transporting aquaculture salmon like all other commercial fishing vessels;

    − As per Pacific Fishery Regulation "Prohibited Fishing
    Methods" ban grow lights on fish feedlots to end wild prey species
    attraction into the pens;

    - Remove the marine feedlot industry from wild salmon migration routes.

    The landmark BC Supreme Court decision states, “The inclusion of fisheries in s. 91(12) of the Constitution Act, 1867 was a recognition that fisheries, as a national resource, require uniformity of the legislation”.

    We insist that the Fisheries Act be applied to the salmon feedlot fishery immediately.


    This is followed by the petition form.

    The letter below was submitted with the petition so far, with over 4600 signatures:

    Dear Honourable Minster Shea, and Premier Campbell:

    Four Thousand, six hundred and seventeen (4.617) people have signed the letter attached to this email. The rate of signatures is accelerating and already this number of out of date as more people have signed in the past 1/2 hour. Three thousand, seven hundred and ninety six are from British Columbia. Most of the remaining nearly 1000 people contribute to the BC economy as visitors.

    I will continue forwarding this letter to both of you due to the recent appeal of the BC Supreme Court decision to assign fish “farms” to the federal government.

    Minister Shea, I am hoping these signatures will help you gauge the level of concern here in BC. Wild salmon bring $1.5 billion dollars to BC every year in wilderness tourism, the commercial fishery is worth another .5 billion and wild salmon are extremely important to the First Nations of British Columbia. Anything that threatens all of this is harming the BC economy. Initially, I know this industry was considered a benefit to small coastal communities, but the opposite has occurred in many places. This is a failed social experiment. Wherever wild salmon are healthy, the economy is healthy. What is the solution?

    1. Wild salmon cannot be moved, so remove the penned ones.
    2. Offer incentives to Canadian fish farmers to build tanks on land where they can work on farming a range of fish species and build a
    viable industry with permanent infrastructure, not disposable pens
    3. Form councils made of only local people willing to work hard to restore wild salmon, using the remarkably successful biology of wild
    salmon as the compass and instruct government to help, not hinder these people
    4. Apply the Fisheries Act fair and square to any aquaculture that remains in public waters.

    We got into this mess because no one read the road signs and now we are deep into the danger zone. Most recently the $5 million Pacific Salmon Forum, tasked to respond to the plummeting wild Broughton salmon stocks, confirmed there is a relationship between fish farms, sea lice and declining wild salmon. What did they recommend? Leave farm salmon production at the same level as where all the damage to the pink salmon occurred. This is simply not going to work. Any other fishery found damaging wild salmon would be reduced, not maintained at exactly the levels that saw the harm occur. There is something very wrong with this recommendation. Furthermore the impact on Fraser River salmon and steelhead is omitted.

    I think the Norwegian fish farmers have failed us. They are too mechanized, their product is not worth enough, their scale of impact is too great and they have destroyed the salmon market. I feel certain we can build a better aquaculture industry on land where some species of fish will be farmed and we would have our wild salmon and jobs spanning several fish related industries. Diversity is the key to survival of the global economic storm.

    Wherever there are wild salmon people thrive this has been so for 8,000 years in BC.

    We are standing by,

    Alexandra Morton
    Echo Bay/Sointula
    www.adopt-a-fry.org
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Thanks Nancy,
    I for sure will send one off.
    As Alexandra says, 'the science is now in'. There is no sane reason to continue this practice in open waters to our environments detriment.
    It is heartbreaking to know that 90% of those fish runs have been demolished because of this simplistic approach to farming.

    Farmed salmon can still continue, as in other places, by using closed containment.

    .
     
  3. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    These 'Political' posts really get my ire up.
    Is this a KAYAK forum...or a political forum?

    Other than the sight of a Fish Farm when paddling, how does this topic relate to kayaking?
    If one has an opinion on this issue, or any other non-paddling political issue, there are plenty of website forums devoted to them...go there.

    I think the administrators of this site should carefully consider whether these types of posts are wanted/needed here.
    If yes...be prepared for others to counter.

    There can be disagreements, maybe even a Flame War on any topic...but, topics like this is courting them...in my opinion.

    Just my two-bits.
     
  4. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    :popcorn:

    Ive been eating a LOT of popcorn lately!
     
  5. andreas

    andreas Paddler

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    Me too.... :popcorn: :kiss
     
  6. Andy_Ferguson

    Andy_Ferguson Paddler

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    As long as the discourse remains civil I am prepared to let discussions like this stay. Personally, I consider this topic to be related to our hobby/sport/passion and have no issues with it.

    Now if only I could get Darren and Andreas to clean up the popcorn kernels from the floor...
     
  7. GordB

    GordB Paddler

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    I'm about to hazard a guess that the Marine Trail topic is also on the list of what should not be presented here. After all it is VERY political.

    Don't we all agree that the preservation of the natural environment is of great concern, especially to those of us who actually get out and use it? Does that natural environment not also encompass the various flora and fauna in addition to the land/camping locations?

    What if some giant lumber cutting corporation managed to talk some of the less than intelligent politicos into allowing clear cutting right to the waters edge. Camp spots gone. Would that be an acceptable stewardship of our paddling resources? If the information had not been disseminated in as many forums as possible, in a timely fashion, a new "law" might be slipped by us allowing such a transgression.

    We are a community of paddlers who very much enjoy the natural surroundings we are fortunate enough to have as our playground. Sacrificing portions of that for purely consumer driven wants is not something I wish to have happen.

    I personally would like to see regular posting of this nature.

    Now my 2 cents... shut down ALL of the fishy farms. They are not an efficient use of our resources and cause more harm than any benefit derived from them. Those who may lose their jobs by such a closure, unfortunate as that may be, will find something else.

    Gord
     
  8. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I wish that topics that directly affect our paddling environment weren’t so political. I have no idea of what the relative costs would be, but I would almost be in favour of subsidizing salmon farms for closed pen conversion. Maybe that would be a way to keep the job and investment political issues more neutral – I just don’t know.
    In BC, I just wish one party was less historically for net farming and the other was less ambivalent

    My hope is that, as Alexandra’s continuing concerns have finally received academic confirmation, that the issue now moves more to one of objectivity. Ie An objective assessment of the impacts (social and environmental) of an activity affecting our waters and then informed responses and decision making taking place. Utopia likely, but at least some form of assessment has possibility which may lead to more objective decisions.

    But the state of our waters, our fish and the natural environment that we pass through as paddlers has to be part of what we talk and care about in the fashion that each of us can.

    And for that reason, we at WCP support valid (of course we can make misjudgments here) moves to improve our paddling environment.

    We at WCP have had long, long, soul searching discussions about the fact that by publicizing and photographing all the many sites that we and others go to and love – that we are more quickly affecting and disturbing the very places we like to be kept pure and clean.

    Our (WCP’s) intellectual salvation in this enterprise comes from also attempting to make the paddling environment better. That is why we are so actively involved in the BC Marine Trails Network (Both Dan Millsip and I are directors, and a Trails forum is here) and is why we will continue to support other enterprises that also attempt to improve this environment.

    mick allen

    .
     
  9. Kermode

    Kermode Paddler

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    :?: Just a question here... I thought I'd read somewhere that "on-line" or email petitions have no validity whatsoever. My understanding is that in order to be valid a petition is required to have a signature & an address associated with that signature. Othewise it's just a list of names. :?
    Not looking to shoot anyone down here just posing the question.
     
  10. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Politics is one of the ways humans resolve differences, at least in theory. I do not see any way to avoid issues like this one amongst concerned paddlers and/or concerned citizens. There is plenty of room for debate on this one, for sure.

    Inasmuch as the dog I have in this fight is not mine, I mainly get to sit back and munch popcorn. A pity, because this fight is truly one common to the west coast, and a fish farm in one segment of the continuous biosphere my salmon swim through does affect them, even though my citizenship only controls the last bit of their life cycle.

    These things need to to be considered on a global scale, or at least a regional scale. When nations work together on biological issues common to them both, everybody wins, even the fish.
     
  11. canoecat

    canoecat Paddler

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    Kermode: The first petition letter with the 4600 signatures was a printout of the information in the online form, name, activity, city, province or country. Not sure of the validity myself, but was given that same information re address and signature when I did a local issue petition. I think that the reliance on sheer numbers is supposed to do the work. Several of the US environmental organizations do this. I noted several duplicates on the first copy out too.
     
  12. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I fully support the efforts and work done by Alexandra Morton (and have followed her career for as long as I've been kayaking -- I used to always look forward to reading her articles when they appeared in Wavelength Magazine). Since this has a lot to do with the environment that we paddle in, it is completely appropriate for discussion forums such as this one. Political? Sure. But it's relevant -- and important -- and it effects us all, not only as paddlers but also as inhabitants of this planet.

    I've found that most of the people on this forum are rational, intelligent people who can express their opinions in thoughtful respectable ways. As Andy states above, so long as the discussion remains civil he has no problem with it -- neither do I and I thank canoecat for bringing this important issue to our attention.

    Kermode, I don't know about the relevancy of online petitions but I suspect that it does carry some weight. Note that it is necessary on the form to include your name and location -- not completely circumventable but does add some validity. I suspect that politicians do review petitions such as this one with an acceptable level of seriousness.

    ADave, I think there is some good from you signing this petition as well, is the letter above to Honourable Minister Shea, and Premier Campbell, Alexandra states:

    Your contributions to the province through your visits seem to be recognized as well.

    Ken B, I do hope that you can see the importance of these discussions and how they relate to our community -- feel free to post counter points if you wish and I urge everyone to consider each other's points of view in a respectful manner.

    I think it's also worth considering that if these discussions don't take place here, and if we can't/don't/won't talk about them, are we not doing a disservice to the paddling community?

    *****
     
  13. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    Nothing good can come of this.
    I have political views as well...I would rather come here and read/talk about kayaking...
    Topics like Marine Trail (access to camping sites), and a New Marina in the inner Harbour (possibly hindering kayak access)...those are political issues that DIRECTLY effect paddling. Fair enough.

    Rather than having a Forum that brings people together from ALL WALKS OF LIFE and BELIEFS on a common interest (kayaking)...allowing topics to stray into marginal (at best) explosive political views can only result in personality conflicts, and 'Cliques' forming.
    I've seen this happen before...I am a wine enthusiast/collector...I participate in a Global web Wine Forum...they had to outlaw all topics that didn't deal DIRECTLY with the hobby...it got way out of hand.

    Dan...with a statement like this, and being a Moderator, to some, this web forum may appear to have a hidden agenda?

    Please reconsider.
     
  14. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Completely agree with Dan on this one.
     
  15. rider

    rider Paddler

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    In a community that does go beyond internet forums, I like the idea of knowing beforehand who stands where on things I care about.
     
  16. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I don't need to reconsider. I just said that I support her efforts. Nothing at all hidden about that. If you don't support her efforts and wish to tell others about it, you're more than welcome to express your views in a respectful and thoughtful manner. I don't think that any of us who run this site have a problem with that.

    It's very clear from a number of people who have posted in this discussion (and other past related discussions) that it is something that is important to a lot of kayakers and that it does effect us. If the wild salmon on this coast are depleted or irrepairably damaged by irresponsible fish farming, there will be severe ecological changes all along the food chain that will definitely effect the coastline and the waters that we paddle. While you may not see this as an important issue that directly relates to kayaking, it's obvious that many others do.

    *****
     
  17. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    Well...I tried.
    It's your website Dan.
     
  18. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    rider,
    Are you saying that if you don't like one's views/opinions here you won't associate or paddle with them?
     
  19. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    So what? Now you're trying to start a flame war? If you don't like the topic that's fine, but either post something constructive or don't post to it at all.

    The topic of this discussion is Alexandra's Petition -- please don't attempt to make it into something else.

    *****
     
  20. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    And what was rider's statement?
    His statement proved my point...did it not?

    I am just trying to get a clear understanding...in case we happen to show up to the same trip/paddle.