Cohen Commission… like sands through the hour glass; these are the days of our lives

And on it goes…

The Tyee (BC independent news) is reporting today:

Cohen Commission hearings delayed over document hold up

Hearings scheduled for early September have now been forced back to late October because it appears the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can’t get their poop together and are delaying document release.

“We need to review tens of thousands of documents, and the federal government is disclosing those to us, but we don’t have all the documents yet,” … “For example, we’re waiting for over 200,000 emails that we’ve identified need to be disclosed, and that’s coming, but it’ll probably take several months for the government to review and disclose them.”

Suggests the PR firm owner who is the spokesperson for the Commission. Yet, ‘public’ hearings will be held province-wide in September.

Would members of the public not want to have an opportunity to comment on the hearings and documents, reports, etc. released by DFO?

Justice Cohen is supposed to deliver an interim report this coming month (August) and remember this Commission is supposed to be signed, sealed, and delivered by May 2011.

_ _ _ _

The article also suggests that the Panel is now potentially adding another panel member after Brian Riddell resigned last week:

While Shore says it’s not a question of replacing Riddell, the commission is looking into adding a panelist that has some “traditional fisheries ecology experience.”

“When we held the opening hearings in June, some of the participants, notably First Nations groups, suggested to us that it might be useful to bring in someone to our science advisors that has [that experience], so we’re investigating that right now,” Shore said.

I tend to be someone who calls it, as I see it…

Is not hiring one “traditional fisheries expert” a good example of “tokenism”?

The Cohen Commission now has five “eminent fisheries experts” (a few of which still have potential conflict of interest implications or at least of optics of such and could also be called as witnesses); and now there’s the potential opportunity for one traditional fisheries expert… hmmm…

Why not a panel of “eminent” traditional fisheries experts?

Especially when in Canadian law, and as part of the Canadian Constitution (Section 35, if I remember correctly), First Nations people have first right to salmon for food, social, and ceremonial purposes — after conservation needs have been met.

Plus last time I checked traditional knowledge is something that is handed down over generations — meaning hundreds of years, if not thousands.

How long has “fisheries science” been around?

3 thoughts on “Cohen Commission… like sands through the hour glass; these are the days of our lives

  1. Kris

    But, Justice Cohen, the fishery is certified by the MSC! It’s sustainable! What the everloving _ _ _ _ !?


    Fraser sockeye close to certified sustainable after adjudicator rules against objection
    By Larry Pynn, Vancouver SunJuly 12, 2010

    Fraser River sockeye are one step closer to being certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council after a ruling Monday.

    The council said in a news release Monday that an independent adjudicator, Halifax-based maritime attorney Wylie Spicer, has ruled against objections to the certification of the Fraser sockeye fishery.

    “The certifier will now submit the Final Certification Report to MSC recommending the fishery be certified,” the release stated. “The fishery is not yet certified; however, it is anticipated that, following final internal MSC review of the documents, the certifier will issue a certificate and MSC will announce certification.”

    In February, the David Suzuki Foundation, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, and Watershed Watch Salmon Society filed an objection over the determination made by TAVEL Certification (now part of Moody Marine Ltd.) that the Fraser River salmon fishery should be certified.

    Spicer held a hearing in late May and subsequently reviewed materials submitted by the parties involved.

    The Fraser River area is one of four units of certification in the B.C. sockeye salmon fishery that sought certification to the MSC standard. The other three units — Skeena River, Nass River and Barkley Sound — were not part of this objection procedure and recently successfully completed certification.

    The Fraser River certification includes 17 conditions that must be achieved by the fishery on specified time scales. Among them: a clear commitment to implement recovery action plans for Cultus and Sakinaw sockeye; evidence that First Nation issues regarding aboriginal and treaty rights have been identified and these issues are being addressed through an effective consultation or negotiation process; and a research plan that addresses identified concerns related to the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem, with emphasis on non-target stocks, and takes into consideration socioeconomic factors and anticipated changes to fisheries.

    Currently, 12 Canadian fisheries are certified to the MSC standard and 17 others are in the assessment process. In B.C., certified fisheries also include halibut and albacore tuna.

    The release said there is uncertainty in the scientific community as to the reasons for low sockeye returns; however, “there is general agreement that commercial fishing pressure is not the cause for these declines….”

    © Copyright © The Vancouver Sun


  2. Kris

    I’m putting it out there anywhere people will listen. The problem is that there are so few people who understand the issues who are willing to be vocal about it. Marine Stewardship Council —> Stewardship —> Steward. What does that mean? I don’t think the MSC knows what it means.

    MSC certification should be called extinction certification…

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