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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Public Interest: a statement to the Joint Review Panel

Statement to the Joint Review Panel: Kim Wright, January 16th, 2013 in Vancouver B.C.

My name is Kim Wright. I was born in Prince Rupert and I live and work in Vancouver. I have spent my whole life on the coast. I am an environmental and social scientists, educated and employed in the field of environmental conflict analysis and management.

Tonight I wish to speak to you about what is in the public interest and how one might approach making that determination

My personal perspective is informed by many years of working with Canadians who come together to make decisions about the natural resources they share. I have witnessed the positive benefits of collaboration and stakeholder engagement in marine and land use planning. There are many examples from across Canada where sustainable resource use that is compatible with the needs and values of local communities and the environment has resulted from such processes. They are critical for establishing the public interest for current and future generations of Canadians.

I have also been witness to changes in British Columbia's coastal communities over the last forty years; the industrialization of the fishing fleet, boom and bust local economies, declining opportunities for employment and the movement of youth away from their families and home towns into the cities for education and work. I am sympathetic to the need for economic opportunities for all Canadians including those in smaller coastal communities. My friends and colleagues in these communities will all agree that stronger more diverse economic opportunities that are embedded in healthy ecosystems are the long term solution. They believe and I agree that these are their interests.

The National Energy Board defines the public interest as:
inclusive of all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic, environmental and social considerations that changes as society's values and preferences evolve over time. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Incidental catch: in the wrong place at the wrong time

Will Soltau is Sustainable Fisheries and Salmon Farming Campaign Manager for Living Oceans Society.

A while back I blogged about the outbreaks of the IHN virus at salmon feedlots in BC and how they may have been avoidable if a vaccine was used. As it turns out, 2012 was a bad year for disease outbreaks in the Canadian salmon feedlots on both west and east coasts. A lot of money was invested with no return. More money was spent culling fish under depopulation orders from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. On top of that, Chile rebounded after their three year ISA epidemic and began re-supplying the market, driving prices down and squeezing margins in B.C. And when you add on the cost of a million dollar BC ad campaign with a high rent agency just before and during the downturn, a better example of throwing good money after bad would be hard to find. It's no wonder the salmon aquaculture spin doctors are so snarky these days.

What just recently came to light is the incidental catch associated with one of those disease events. 2.5 tonnes of Pacific herring that were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time were sucked out of the net pens along with the sick Atlantic salmon. "*The incidental catch of herring at this facility occurred during a planned depopulation to control the spread of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis virus (IHNv)."