“DFO says Cohen Commission to blame for delay”… nothing like half-facts to assist in denial… One more disconnection notice for DFO and salmon farmers

There’s an article running in national news cycles today that suggests the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is trying to blame others for what might be their own inadequacy…

One of the top 5 rules for PR when you’re in a hole: Deflect Blame.

Another… when in doubt: deny, deny, deny.

Otherwise known as: “I’m sorry sir, I cannot recall the details of that contract…”

Or… as the embroiled Conservative government Defence Minister right now… spin, spin, spin… back-peddle, back-peddle… spin, spin, spin…

DFO says Cohen Commission to blame for delay

Blame the Cohen Commission, in part, for delays in processing amendment applications for fish farm licenses, says DFO.

Last week, in the wake of announced job and production cuts from Marine Harvest Canada, a number of fish farmers said a slow regulatory process is hurting efforts to improve efficiency.

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Hmmm… damn government red tape… always the barrier to “efficiency” isn’t it?

If we’d just let those ultra-trustworthy corporations do what they want to to do for ‘maximum efficiency’ then all would be great!

Isn’t that kind of like saying: “hey olympians, just use whatever performance-enhancing drugs you need… that would be so much more efficient…”

Just think, running races like the 5000 metres, or 10,000 metres or the marathon for that fact would be over so much quicker then now. That’s efficiency isn’t it?

Then the corporate sponsors could get more ads in, thus more sponsorship dollars, more efficiency, more jobs, more sponsorship…

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goes the annoying buzzer.

Yes, a question down here in the front, yes you sir… what’s your question?”

“Ummmm, I was just wondering, doesn’t more ‘efficiency’ usually result in a loss of jobs?… you know like NAFTA, or otherwise?”

“OH NO… not at all… i mean… ummm… let me be clear here… ummm… I mean… with more efficiency we could produce more fish, have more farms in operation, etc., way more benefit to local communities, you know… i mean…”

“Huh… interesting… so how does more fish being produced mean ‘more jobs’…  how many more farmed salmon does it take to create another job?… say for example, those 60 jobs you’re cutting right now, Marine Harvest?”

“Well… ummm… i mean… you know… let me be clear… this is a very complex issue… ummm… you have to understand…”

{personally… I’m a huge fan of that statement “you have to understand”… as I am when a politician (e.g. our current PM, with his media and communications clamp down starts an answer with: “let me be clear”…}

{Yes, Mr. PM… please be clear… is generally my answer..}

{here’s to dreaming…}

_ _ _ _ _

From the article:

MHC [Marine Harvest] announced late in October that it will shed roughly 60 jobs from its total of about 500 and cut production by 30 per cent in reaction to decreasing prices stemming from an increase in global production.

Mainstream Canada said it wasn’t planning any layoffs but it could be much more efficient if it was allowed to increase production at some of it’s farms. Applications for approval to do that remain stalled with DFO.

OH…. hold on a second Mr./Ms. Salmon Farmer… you’re saying that:

“We should have a world-leading, positive, responsible farming community here,” he said. (Mr. Hawthorn from Grieg Seafood) “Instead, we’ve been stuck with no growth for more than 10 years now. You’ve got no way of getting your costs down because your regulations are stuck 15 years ago.”

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Hmmm… let’s get this straight… you say that you had to do the layoffs because of “increased global production“…. BUT… If DFO would just get going on approval then you’d be “more efficient” ?

I’m no “economist” but I do seem to remember some basic concepts of supply and demand…

Doesn’t the above suggest that more efficiency, means for production…? But if layoffs are coming because of increased global production… meaning somewhere else (most likely the same multinational company — e.g. Marine Harvest) is producing the same fish for cheaper somewhere else (e.g. Chile) because labor is cheaper and enviro laws are more lax (and there aren’t any of those pesky wild salmon runs and wild salmon advocates)… then how is being “more efficient” and producing more fish, help the company bottom line, or result in ‘more jobs’ in BC?

If there’s a glut of farmed salmon on the market — e.g. “increased global production” — then how is more approvals for more salmon farms and more efficiency on the BC coast going to assist that?

Getting costs down… doesn’t that mean cutting jobs?

And didn’t those jobs getting cut have to do with a glut of fish on the markets, meaning lower prices, meaning lower profits, meaning job cuts?

And so this is the Cohen Commission’s fault… how?

And DFO, ummmm… you seem to forget to mention, the fact that you just took over Aquaculture Regs. in BC because you wrongfully gave the Province of BC the responsibility of aquaculture regulations some time back — which in fact was against the Canadian Constitution and the division of powers between the feds and the Provinces…

And you lost your argument in the Supreme Court? RRRRiiight. forgot about that for a bit…

Hmmm. right… and that you yourself, as a federal ministry, have had your struggles in getting those aquaculture regulations back under federal control where they belong (according the Canadian Constitution)… no, let’s just forget to mention that bit, and simply blame it on the Cohen Commission.

Maybe not the wisest strategy considering that the Cohen Commission holds the pen at the moment in making recommendations to your ministry’s operations…

Plus the disrespect that the Cohen Commission is supposed to be an independent review in potentially highlighting your mis-management in the first place.

Maybe take that ‘strategy’ back to the drawing board… because I thought the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was supposed to look to conserve fish first… then look at opportunities for economic development or otherwise… twisted priorities maybe?

Maybe time for another disconnection notice for salmon farmers and DFO…?

8 thoughts on ““DFO says Cohen Commission to blame for delay”… nothing like half-facts to assist in denial… One more disconnection notice for DFO and salmon farmers

  1. Realist

    The jobs getting cut because of global overproduction argument is BS from corporate head offices to appease shareholders.

    There is plenty of demand for B.C. farmed salmon. B.C. salmon farmers have to turn customers away because they don;’t have enough fish to sell.

    The fact is, B.C. salmon farmers are hobbled by provincial and federal governments who have for years delayed applications for simple licence amendments for things such as adding a couple new cages (still within the licence biomass limits) or even changing the anchoring of a site to take better advantage of ocean currents, allowing fallow time to be shorter (letting more fish be stocked sooner).

    Even moving some existing sites into better locations, not changing any of the licence biomass limits, would allow for more production, more efficient operations and yes, would create hundreds of jobs. No exaggeration.

  2. Realist

    By the way, more fish being produced creates more jobs because there is a processing plant in Campbell River which could employ hundreds of people if it had a full-time supply of fish. As it stands now, the plant is facing a year-long shutdown because it simply does not have enough fish to process.

  3. Mary Russell

    Realist is no realist but an opportunist of the worst persuasion. He wants the farms able to site in places that are off-limits for good reason–because they are in the migration routes of our wild fisheries, or have Reserve status or values, or are near wild salmon rivers and holding areas; he wants more salmon per farm, when most are already over-loaded because DFO is compliant; he wants the industry to have shorter fallowing time when dead zones due to excremental and chemical pollution is already extreme.

    He wants even more favors from a DFO that is already disgracefully favoring the industry above the laws of the Fisheries Act that govern the rest of us. Altogether, DFO/the industry/the Province/Ottawa are betraying our wild fisheries to an abomination that will bring sickness and death to our wild fisheries and the ecology of our north Pacific ocean. Their current degenerate response to the crisis of ISA almost certainly being in our waters is a case in point, and shows DFO/the industry will do and say almost anything to get their irresponsible way– the massive expansion of existing destructive open net-cage regimes in in our waters.
    Fie I say! Begone with your lying and cheating and hiding. Go home to save your own country, your own rivers, your own wild salmon from loss and degredation before you come and mess up our North Pacific zinging with life and usefulness culminating in our wild salmon that feed magnificently the chain of life at sea, ashore, up the rivers and into the forests and the world of humankind. Remember, our wild salmon have evolved over thousands of years with other species that now need them for life itself. Given due respect our wild salmon could continue to feed life at sea and on shore freely and forever, cleanly and gloriously. Conversely, factory farmed, medicated, pesticided, pollutive, and dangerously disease ridden farmed salmon are an abomination without redemption in our oceans. In truth, the industry’s dishonorable behavior should bar it from being allowed in Canada even ashore, for it will always find a way to cut corners that will maim and kill the wild.

  4. Will

    Hmmm… Corporate head offices BSing shareholders about global over-production? No wonder the share prices are so low.

    Who is planting these seeds of doubt that obscure facts?

    Anyway, Salmon Guy, I think you hit the nail on the head.

  5. salmon guy Post author

    thanks Will. I take media articles with a certain grain of salt, as journalists can certainly twist things around if they so choose…

    however, seems to be a few things amiss in this PR line by the farmers…
    Stay tuned for the spin machines to go into overdrive as Cohen ISA-day approaches.

  6. salmon guy Post author

    so realist… maybe if we look a little further back in time we’d see why fish plants in Campbell River… well… and Port Hardy, and Steveston, and Bella Bella, and… Rivers Inlet…and.. Ocean Falls… and Prince Rupert… and Masset… and Queen Charlotte City… and…Ketchikan… and… and…

    we might see a recurring pattern.
    Fish plants have been running themselves out of business since the first cannery opened on the California Coast in the 1800s… Cannery Row in Monterrey is now a tourist attraction, has been for decades (not quite the buzz of drama written about by John Steinbeck)… as is Rivers Inlet, and even Steveston to a certain degree, and every other place where canneries ran whole hog for about half a century…

    Then the canneries — centralized. In other words… moved into more urban areas… the result… job loss.

    Travel up and down the BC coast and one will see the wreckage reaped by a little over a century of “maximum sustainable yield” thinking — pick up the e-book if you like, it’s on the right hand side of this blog, free…

    That wreckage was facilitated and supported by one Government ministry — and continues to be. Travel up here to northern BC and ask the First Nation communities how many fish they got this year…

    That would have been the Summer run that would have brought fish to communities northwest and west of Prince George… and yet DFO allowed fisheries on those runs to take 50% of the run… the result… very, very few fish for communities in the Interior, yet hundreds of thousands for a decimated commercial sector now largely controlled by one corporation — Pattison be thy name…

    It’s the same story for oolichan, herring, and now this year we’re seeing more cuts on halibut. This is a trend. Same trend as East Coast Atlantic Cod…

    It is time for wholesale change… and unfortunately, having more salmon being farmed in open-pens on the BC coast, managed by a dysfunctional, worn out ministry at the whim of the politician-of-the-day… is not the answer.

    Jobs are important, yes, absolutely, but at what cost, and at a cost to whom?

  7. salmon guy Post author

    if the overproduction argument is BS, then maybe someone should have a chat with Hawthorn and get him on the right PR track… there’s specific training courses for that sort of thing…

    And it’s kind of funny, the tar sands operations also bitch about being hobbled by government regs, as does the mining industry, the logging industry, the banking industry… etc.

    Sometimes a little red tape ain’t such a bad thing… government ministries are supposed to be there to protect the public interest, and there’s certainly a very strong public sentiment that says get the open-pen salmon farms the hell-out-of-BC coastal waters…

    And sure there are also jobs and revenues that shouldn’t just be sloughed off — however, just as asked in my other comment: at what cost? and to whom? and what?

    The salmon farming industry has been a s*^t show everywhere it’s operated — for wild, endemic species — not much different then the impact of massive cattle ranching operations and the impact on surrounding environments.

    Read a book like “Guns, Germs, and Steel” (Jared Diamond) to see an important perspective on the impact of domesticating and farming animals in close proximity… it results in all sorts of nasties… and our only response these days: more hormones and antibiotics to control outbreaks of viruses which are absolutely inevitable. It’s not a matter of “if” just “when” and how bad.

    Thanks for the comments, though. it’s a pretty darn important discussion in BC these days.

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