Bullshit Bingo

Appreciative of the link to the “Bullshit Bingo” card from grass!struggle blog (here’s a link to the original card, maybe a little less blatantly worded). Apparently the card is in use as the Cohen Commission hearings have restarted. With folks from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on ‘the stand’… I can’t say I’m too surprised that the bullshit bumpf is flowing like the snow is falling around parts of the north today.

Maybe the Cohen Commission needs “heavy bullshit-bumpf” warnings… like: Heavy Snowfall weather warnings.

Here’s an apparent quote from the Commission hearings involving a DFO technocrat:

Q: Do you think the stakeholder groups have the capacity to understand the issues that are presented to them for decision and feedback, including some of the technical work that we just touched on today?

A: The level of technical capacity for some of the groups varies for sure. Some of the groups definitely want and expect the Department to have that capacity, to bring them that information and them to be able to give input based on that. Other groups are trying to have people that understand all the models at the same level that we do.

Well, thank goodness we have the all-knowing Department looking after the interests of wild salmon-dependent communities and trying to make it so complex that the whole discussion becomes inaccessible to 98% of the public.

Cynicism aside, there’s a larger issue here. There are multiple senior decision-makers in DFO that don’t understand their own information because it has become so bumpf-laden and ‘complex’ (by their own making).  And that includes the most senior decision-maker: the Minister of Fisheries, who has immense discretionary decision-making power.

And an interesting point from Ivan at his blog:

When one, instead, overburdens the listener with tedious jargon and unimportant minutiae, as Mr. Grout did for a whole day at the Cohen Commission, one is performing (unknowingly, I’ll grant him that) a political act which consists of locking knowledge away from people by using an encrypted code.

_ _ _ _ _

Also, an interesting link this morning:

India Claims Asia’s First Tidal Power Plant

Atlantis Resources Corporation

Seems this type of facility might produce enough energy to potentially run something like a closed-containment fish farm?

_ _ _ _ _

And headline from Victoria Times Colonist today:

Fish farms likely contributed to sockeye decline

Among nine hypotheses, they crunched the available science from the early 1980s up to 2010 and each participant opined which he/she thought were likely causes. They found that where the fry were hatched and resided for two years and then swam all the way down the Fraser River were unlikely to have produced the massive kill.

In 2007, for instance, the Georgia Strait sockeye seine found only 157 fry from the huge Chilko River area cohort of 139 million fry that started out. And, surprisingly, millions of fry, particularly the Harrison, take up residence in the Fraser plume, and so its entire Lower Mainland contaminants don’t kill sockeye.

In the ocean, it turns out that it is unlikely that marine mammals ate them all, even though they snack on chum at the Puntledge River estuary. Nor did unauthorized fishing outside our 320-kilometre territorial waters account for losses. Later, up-river migration of adults — as much as 600 kilometres — seems not to have killed many returning adults either, nor affected the health of the next year’s fry they spawned.

So what did they find? The most likely causes are: marine and freshwater pathogens like viruses, bacteria and sea lice; ocean conditions and a huge negative algal bloom inside Georgia Strait; outside waters were ruled out for 2007-2009.

Georgia Strait conditions of algae, oxygen, salinity, acidity or other physical and biological conditions are seen to have long-term negative effects on survivability, though these conditions are not prevalent every year. And this may help explain the 2010 bumper crop that no one expected; and why Harrison River sockeye that transit Juan de Fuca have been growing in numbers steadily for the past 20 years, contrary to the trend.

Though the scientists thought pathogens were a big negative factor, more science is needed to absolutely nail these down. But it seems to be — wait for it — fish farm issues, say, sea lice, and viruses…

Haven’t had a chance to look at much more in-depth; hope to soon.

Seems maybe the question of salmon farms on wild salmon is still an unanswered one in many ways; despite the claims of some.

Things to ponder…

4 thoughts on “Bullshit Bingo

  1. Brian

    If you read the report it does not map on with the flashy title of Mr. Reid’s column. However, as usual, most people will unfortunately read Mr. Reid’s column and not read any further and accept his version as gosphel. I encourage people to read the WHOLE report instead of just certain parts which Mr. Reid chose to do (but not a big surprise). This is not hard to access either and it definitely is not hard to understand (no cryptic messages, Dave…lol). What it does demand is someone with an open mind – knowing what we know now from what we do not know.

    Report on the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Workshop on the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon
    August 2010 (Page 5):
    “The Panel concluded that the available evidence for and against each of the nine hypotheses does not point to a single cause of either the poor adult returns of Fraser River sockeye in 2009
    or the long-term decrease in returns per spawner. Instead, the evidence suggests that multiple causal mechanisms very likely operate simultaneously and that their effects may be additive,
    multiplicative (i.e., synergistic), or may tend to offset one another’s effects. An example of the latter would arise if mortality early in the life history leads to less density-dependent competition and higher survival late in the salmon’s life cycle). Furthermore, the most probable mechanisms largely affect juvenile sockeye migrants and fish in their early marine life stages.”


    This is just a small quote from this report, but there is much more to it so I encourage interested people to read the WHOLE thing. After reading draw your own conclusion by all means. If anything it will open your mind to the other issues and get you critically thinking instead of having someone else do it for you. This is not to downplay pathogens, virus and sea lice but if you read the report there are still gaps in our existing knowledge.

  2. salmon guy Post author

    couldn’t have said it any better Brian.
    “gaps in our existing knowledge”

    you’re dead on. i think you’re starting to pick up what i’ve been laying down on this blog.
    and as of late, in relation to salmon farming (for example)… it’s pretty hard for anyone to say they have “the facts”.

    BC salmon are a complex issue, the “science” does not agree, our ‘knowledge’ is limited and there are huge “gaps in our knowledge” — and, thus, anyone that suggests they have the “BCsalmonfacts”… might not be quite telling the whole story, or “getting the story straight”…

    thanks again.

  3. Brian

    Well…not so fast there, Dave.

    What has BCsalmonfacts.ca said that is not correct? There are things being said about the industry that simply either not true or are exaggerated. For instance, BC fish farmers have said time and time over that hormones are not used in their fish farms. This is either true or it is not. Is it not a fact that fish farm information is publicly accessable to the public? Did you not see the link to the provincial site I provided you recently? If you do not believe these examples coming from bcsalmonfacts.ca are “facts” then please explain what you believe is “fact”. What part of the story isn’t the industry getting correct? I think you are trying to find something to satisfy your criticism of the industry rather than admitting, “Wow…I didn’t know that. I learned something I didn’t know before”. From what I can see bcsalmonfacts answered your question, but somehow only the edited version made it on your blog and we got to see your complete response to them. Sounds fair and balanced.

    There are gaps in our knowledge, but if you ask groups affliated with Morton this is not the case. In their case, they clearly have the “facts” despite these gaps, but you don’t really mention them or criticize them all that much in your blog or their funding sources. I know exactly what you are laying down as do most of the new posters to your blog know…lol. I find it kind of funny that you use bcsalmonfacts.ca as an example and not the various blogs that profess their own “facts” to discredit the industry. Why not question their theories, conclusions or PR campaigns (campaigns that have been going on much longer and don’t seem to be mentioned that much in your blog)? This is where we clearly diverge. Sorry….it was warm and fuzzy for awhile though.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    read the posts Brian — half-facts and zombie facts: e.g. “salmon feed is designed specifically to conserve wild fish stocks”

    you’ve got the answer to your question: “there are gaps in the knowledge” — and thus precaution and risk management and even some speculation are required to go down certain paths, carefully.

    folks can go to the bcsalmonfacts website and read the full responses if they like — hence the edited versions here.

    i tend to try and believe in a “be hard on the problem not the people” philosophy. And thus get a little worn out from the personal attacks that carry on from both sides in this issue. And, as mentioned before, if you’ve been visiting this blog before I’ve certainly raised questions about some non-gov. groups and their funding. At the same time, as mentioned in today’s post, when you are a publicly traded company that comes with responsibilities to not engage in false advertising (for example).

    If the salmon farmers have such a problem with the non-gov groups, then why haven’t they sued them for misinformation, etc? If they’re so convinced of their ‘facts’ then prove it in court.

    Advocacy groups are a fact of life.. and they’re prolific. Just as i mention in today’s post. Nike deals with them. Walmart deals with them. The tarsands operators deal with them. It’s part of business. However, if a PR campaign is launched to state “facts” then don’t make them half-facts.

    thanks Brian, all fair points.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *