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As a result of our filing charges against Marine Harvest for illegal possession of wild
salmon there is now a new condition of licence wherein they have to report wild
fish trapped in their pens. This is not enough as this will be done in-house, by the Norwegian fish farm companies and there is no way to ground-truth their numbers, however, we are making a difference and need to push this further until it matches the independent observer program Canadian fishermen are subject to.

Every week people from inside the industry are coming to me to report things they feel very badly about. These folks are heroes, risking their jobs for the wild fish.  One day I hope they will go public, but until then I will do what I can.  As you can see below the tips I got from Nootka about the drug resistant sea lice has inspired a response. Again it is not enough, but it is moving in the right direction.

Please check my blog for what needs to be done by you right away. The Fisheries Act is under threat of being degraded to protect the Norwegian salmon farmers: The only people who are going to protect our wild fish is us.

Alexandra morton

Hi back Gerry,

I’ve been reading all the posts on FishNET and since I’m not a fisherman I have
a hard time sitting on my hands.  The few guys who post there any more still seem to be wrapped up in sector arguments and pointing fingers instead of trying to form a cohesive group to present solutions at the upcoming Judicial Inquiry.  This inquiry should be the only thing salmon fishermen are thinking about right now because if Gail Shea and DFO don’t come up against a strong defence, there won’t be a wild salmon fishery in a few years.

In a letter to the media Minister Shea has shown the hand Ottawa intends to play for the inquiry: a narrow focus on the decline of Fraser sockeye due to global warming, too warm river and/or ocean temperatures, lack of feed, high seas predation… and a couple other issues that man has no control over.  The inquiry will be a venue with a preconceived outcome and it will be a joke.  Why?  Because the stakeholders who really count are sitting back and looking around, waiting for the government or someone else to solve the problem.  No one is forcing government into a meaningful investigation of the problems that are inherent to BC and can be solved here. Issues such as sea lice from fish farms killing smolts has been scientifically proved everywhere in the world; it can be controlled if fish farms are controlled through switching to land-based containers, are moved out of migration routes and river estuaries, or at the very least be fallowed during out-migrations of salmon smolts.  Degradation of streams, rivers and lakes from logging and now from run-of-river power projects that will supply the US with electrical energy is a scientific and political fact; these can be controlled if the BC Government is forced to listen to its citizens.  Yep, it will take time, but it can begin immediately with clean river projects and enhancement programs.  As well, demanding accurate counts of incoming / outgoing runs on the major spawning rivers will curb potential duplicity or mismanagement of those stocks. And that’s only a handful of issues that come to mind.

 The commercial fishery has now been invited by Justice Cohen to be a significant part of the hearing.  As such, the entire salmon fishery needs to support whatever group or individuals will present their case; it needs to incorporate the valuable knowledge fishermen already possess; it has to be a cohesive effort with input from every sector. Fishermen do have all the answers. And maybe that’s happening in other groups, but I sure don’t see it shaping up that way based on what I’ve read on FishNET.

Jim Crawford - former editor of Fisherman's Life

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