trouble at the DFO henhouse?

sinking ship?

So what happens in the federal Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans when colleagues call out their own? …When employees/scientists call out other employees/scientists?

Is this something the ol’ Human Resources dept. deals with?

And what does it do for public confidence when a publicly-funded government institution has their employees bickering?

A memo released as evidence within the Cohen Commission into Fraser sockeye declines suggests a little trouble in the henhouse… (in the list of evidence released July 8th — exhibit #1342)

Hargreaves and Beamish memo 2003

'... i agree with the criticisms of DFO'


Not that this sort of squabbling is surprising… however, this Ministry has a pretty important function. One is left wondering who’s running the show?

no association, personally or professionally

‘…not a good team player…’

how dare you.

I didn’t realize “science” was a team game…

_ _ _ _ _ _

The Cohen Commission is into a summer break now, however there could be some more interesting DFO memos etc. How many other non-‘team players’ aren’t pulling the line?


6 thoughts on “trouble at the DFO henhouse?

  1. Brian

    I love it how a old memo from 2003 is blown up as a major internal battle-royal. Do you really think that everyone in any organization, whether it is private or public, always agree? Really can’t win either way…..if Hargreaves agreed with Beamish then you would have said that they were acting like a secret scientist club and were protecting each other’s butt……If Hargreaves voiced his opinion and critisized Beamish then you call it squabbling and bickering and that public confidence is shot. So, Dave, I congratulate you for covering all the bases on this one. Just default to the other if it’s not working out.

    Did you know that even First Nations bicker amongst themselves? Definitely not all on board with each other. Not a public concern? Where does AFS money come from? I am sure those within the anti-fish farm camp disagree amongst each other also, but of course they are not required to forward any internal memos, emails and documents in this inquiry like DFO. Of course all of Suzuki’s endorsements of studies that basically called farmed salmon unsafe to eat saw rave reviews during the same time period…lol.

    So what has gone on since 2003? Well, we have found out that Kroksek and Morton’s prediction of pink salmon extinction in the Broughton area was a flop. We see that pink salmon populations in that area really do fluctuate and have fluctuated over a long time series – even before fish farms. We know that Kroksek and Morton cherry pick what data they want to use by excluding a major pink salmon area in their 2007 study and got called on it by the scientific community. We had the collapse of 2009 and lots of finger pointing at fish farms because naturally fish farms are just multnationals that care about the bottom line and all fish farmers are just lying two-faced people. We then had an inquiry called to look into the cause of the decline (which is really about fish farms so the critics just slept through the rest of the testimony because their fancy lakeshore properties and their net fisheries have nothing to do with declines). What else? Oh yeah we also had Morton claiming that Fraser Sockeye were getting decimated by sea lice and predicted that the 2008 out-migrants were doomed like the adult Sockeye that didn’t return in 2009. In 2010, the Fraser had the largest return of Sockeye in 100 years and Morton is trying to save face by now pointing the finger at disease transmission (oh…she also did some wonderful trips around the watershed displaying her ignorance of stock assessment activities). Lice? What lice? Did she said “lice”? Does anyone even hear about sea lice anymore? Now it is Salmon Leukemia….or is it Salmon Anemia Virus now….or is it small pox? Sorry for being a party pooper. I will let you go back to your fun now.

  2. km

    Are you voicing support for beamish’s work or just pointing out the fact that there are actually some biologists in DFO who give a shit about fish? The criticisms of beamish’s work are soundly deserved.

  3. Alexandra Morton

    To “Brian” who does not have the guts to use his last name. It is revolting that fish farmers and their allies keep saying the Morton Krkosek predictions were wrong. The truth is salmon farmers began using drugs to lower their lice numbers just before the juvenile wild salmon come out of the rivers. Own up to this or you are not speaking truth. The drugs are not going to work indefinitely, sea lice are becoming strongly resistant to all the drugs and we are poisoning our seas, but you are not helping by spreading the myth that the lice magically vanished. The work my colleagues and I did temporarily halted the plague of lice because we did the science and we brought it to the public.

    This is what bothers me about this industry. Just come clean and say it like it is and let people make a real decision. And Brian, use your whole name. You show up on my blog too, you are clearly close to the fish and you might find you could do some good. But it is not honourable to hide your identity while criticizing those who are giving this their all.

  4. joe

    This symbiotic relationship between some Fisheries and Oceans personnel, government employees, and some fish farmers is really sickening.
    The reluctance to let the public know about disease and lice problems on the farms in the past, and possibly present, which may have affected the salmon runs negatively is hard to comprehend.
    Of course salmon farmers’ profits would be higher if there aren’t plentiful healthy sockeye runs.

    The linked article may help explain that manipulation of markets and circumstances can certainly help a company’s “bottom line”, and may be as difficult to prove as any introduced salmon disease or lice problems.

    May 24 {Reuters}
    [I] U.S. regulators launched one of the biggest ever crackdowns on oil price manipulation on Tuesday, suing two well-known traders and two trading firms owned by Norwegian billionare John Fredriksen for allegedly making 50 million by squeezing markets in 2008.[/I]

    Is the Mr. Fredricksen mentioned the previous owner of fish farms operating here in BC ?

  5. salmon guy Post author

    some rather interesting questions and comments Brian,
    unfortunately, it also seems to demonstrate your lack of knowledge of public process, and case law… Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) dollars are allocated because of court decisions. Simply because organizations receive money from a government institution does not open them up to the same rules of public disclosure or discourse. There is also a 150-year history on why the case law continues to favor First Nations that mount challenges against DFO.

    The issue is not whether or not DFO scientists get along and play nice, which seems to be the issue you’ve chosen to jump on — it’s more an issue of how that information is made public so that the taxpayers that fund DFO, and elect governments are able to be involved in the democratic process. (see today’s post for more thoughts on that — e.g. publicly funded scientists being muzzled).

    Also curious to see that you seem to have the whole Fraser sockeye issue figured out, and are in the sea-lice denial camp, as well as the DFO-defence mode, and telling so many others that essentially they have no idea what they’re talking about. Suppose we’ll all just have to continue to wait to see what else comes out at the Commission and after.

    thanks again for the comments, they speak for themselves. I would also hope that if other comments on the site are correct, that you’d stand up under your real name and associate yourself with DFO, if that’s where your comments are coming from? (as pointed out by other folks’ comments in the past). Hard to have good honest discussions when people hide behind a corner and shout criticism from afar — it’s akin to the kid that starts calling you names from 100 ft away as they race away on their bike.

  6. joe

    Apparently Mr. Fredriksen was a major shareholder in Marine Harvest.
    The Guardian reported in 2007

    Fish billionaire in plea to save wild salmon
    “John Fredricksen, a Norwegian shipping and oil industry billionaire who owns 29% of Marine Harvest, surprised anglers and conservationists by directly linking farms to plunging wild fish populations – a link the industry has steadily disputed. ….. he told a Norwegian newspaper earlier this year :” I am concerned about the future for wild salmon. Fish farming should not be allowed in fjords with salmon rivers.”

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