This is the best you've got!?

Surfing through various headlines, articles, riffs, and rants – some of which I am posting here – I came across this September 09 news release from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Now, I know this department is an easy target – however, this press release floored me.

On their website, DFO has all of their news releases from the past several months. In the past several months, the only press release I came across regarding West Coast salmon is:

DFO’s Commitment to the Conservation and Sustainability of West Coast Salmon

The press release states:

The lower than expected returns in certain West Coast salmon runs have generated significant interest and concern in the Department and among all Canadians. Questions have been raised about DFO’s commitment to funding research and sustainable fisheries, particularly the Fraser River sockeye.

The Department’s first priority is the conservation and long-term sustainability of sockeye in managing the fishery. Accordingly, the Department has annually invested significant funds to carry out vital scientific research and monitoring.

2002-2009 Annual Expenditures for West Coast Salmon Research

  • 2002-2003 $17.9M
  • 2003-2004 $16.8M
  • 2004-2005 $16.3M
  • 2005-2006 $16.1M
  • 2006-2007 $16.5M
  • 2007-2008 $15.9M
  • 2008-2009 $17.0M

Are you frigging kidding me!?

The West Coast of Canada experiences one of the worst years on record for actual fisheries and sees some of the largest population crashes on record (e.g. Fraser sockeye: over 10 million forecast; just over 1 million return) – and the best the federal department, responsible for ensuring salmon populations are healthy, can send out is a press release stating ‘look at the money we’re spending on research’.

Again, are you frigging kidding me?

This is like me telling my kids in twenty years; what do you mean I don’t care about you look at all the money I spent on you over the last five years: $10,000 for hockey; $5,000 for dance lessons; $20,000 in dad’s taxi services…

NO, no and no – commitment is not assessed by spending $$.

This is like the Mastercard commercials:

  • phone calls from Prime Minister’s office to boycott December SFU salmon think-tank: $105
  • rookie DFO Minister recent BC travel costs to skip meeting with anyone: $100,000
  • new DFO research vessel to park in Victoria harbour: $2.5 million
  • DFO policy of empty press releases, stating and doing nothing: PRICELESS

Maybe a few comparisons to some other areas of federal research funds may shed some further light? For example, how much is the federal government spending on tar sands research; or the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, or….?

As I recently heard an NHL hockey coach suggest between hockey periods: “we need to pull our heads out of our proverbial butts….”

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