Below is a copy of an email I received today from MP Fin Donelly in response to my request that the Standing Committee on Fisheries & Oceans address the impact of salmon farms on wild salmon. I sent this to all the members on the committee, the Minister (Gail Shea) as well as to my own local MP (Ron Cannan). Forgive me if it's a bit long, but I thought some peole might like to read my original letter in case they need a general guideline for writing their own.... (Big hint here (':wink:') )
Thank you for your letter regarding the need for the Fisheries and Oceans Committee to discuss and address the threats facing West Coast salmon in this session of Parliament.
As the New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans Critic, I commit to you that I will continue to raise in Committee and the House, the concerns you write about.
On a personal note, I have worked to protect our wild salmon and watersheds in British Columbia for the past two decades. Before stepping into the political arena as a City Councillor I twice swam the 1,400 km length of the Fraser River to draw attention to impacts on salmon and salmon habitat.
So, I share your concerns with regard to the need for protection of our wild Pacific Salmon and agree that immediate steps to safeguard them must be taken before irreversible damage is done, and I have made my views known to the Committee.
As you know, the Government recently called for and has now struck an independent Commission to investigate and determine the cause of the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River Sockeye Salmon run.
The Fisheries and Ocean Committee has established its annual work plan, but questions have been raised regarding the mandate of the Inquiry and the work of the Committee, so your letter is timely in encouraging the Committee to focus on the plight of the Pacific Salmon. I encourage you to share your letter and concerns with all members of the Committee.
For your information, in the coming weeks I intend to bring forward a Private Members Bill that would ban open net aquaculture on the West Coast and I have also written to the Fisheries Minister calling her to work with Marine Harvest and other companies to assist with the transition to closed containment farming.
I want to assure you that I take these issues very seriously. I would be happy receive any links to resources that are available to you.
Again, thank you for writing, and please feel free to get in touch in the future.
MP New Westminster-Coquitlam
and Port Moody
From: K........... [mailto:k......@K.......com]
Sent: March 11, 2010 12:41 PM
To: Donnelly, Fin - M.P.
Subject: Standing Committee on Fisheries & Oceans
Fin Donnely, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 947-2700
Fax: (613) 947-4574
Dear Mr. Donnelly;
I hope all is well with you back in Ottawa after the Olympic break. It was wonderful to see how well so many of our Canadian athletes fared. There must be a great satisfaction with the success of the "Own the Podium" program and I hope you can find ways to continue to create great representatives for Canada, both here and in the eyes of the world.
I have previously communicated with my local MP, Mr. Ron Cannan, about my concerns over the situation on the B.C. coast as regards the impact of fish farms on wild salmon stocks. I received an email from the Honourable Minister Gail Shea at the end of January detailing some of the work (both ongoing and in process) that is being done to protect marine area's in Canada. It is encouraging to know that our representatives are making real efforts to protect Canada's natural resources. Regrettably, there was no direct mention of the plight of the wild pacific salmon in the Honourable Minister's correspondence. Given that there is only two days to set the agenda I'm asking for your help in making sure that the committee revisits the impact of salmon farming on wild fish in Canada.
There have been a number of very troubling developments in this area since last year; sea lice developing drug resistance to "slice", escapes of Atlantic salmon from the feedlots, ISA infections, and other disturbing issues. In trying to study this issue, one trend seems to be manifesting itself more and more; the Norwegian owned fish farm companies are leaving a trail of destruction everywhere they operate. One country's (wild) fishing industry after another is being wiped out by the effects of their fish farms. The pattern seems to repeat itself over and over.
I hope you can ensure the committee takes the time to put Canada's interest ahead of the Norwegian fish farms. They are having a dramatic and unfavorable effect on the Wild Pacific salmon in B.C. and a host of other ill environmental effects as well. I won't even attempt to detail all the issues with salmon farming; it's over my head (from a scientific perspective). I trust the committee will fully investigate all of the claims being made (on both sides of the issue) and make a recommendation based on the science. Any decision that is merely based on an industry's profit or bottom line will be suspect. The Norwegian fish farms have not been good stewards of the oceans to date and there is little to indicate that they are prepared to improve their behaviour. Quite simply, it's time for them to leave.
I would be happy to send you links to some of the resources that are available if you like. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter.
CC; Minister of Fisheries & Oceans
Gail Shea, M.P.